Top five reasons why boaters need a tow

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BoatU.S. Towing Services, which operates a nationwide on-the-water recreational boat-towing program reports that more than 65,000 requests for non-emergency assistance were received by its TowBoatU.S. and Vessel Assist towing fleet in 2009 - an 8 percent increase over the previous year.

"The economy has led many boaters to skimp on routine maintenance, which always means more on-the-water breakdowns," said BoatU.S. vice president of towing services Jerry Cardarelli.

Formerly ranked fourth out of the top five reasons why boaters needed a tow, battery problems jumped to the No. 2 spot last year and totaled more than 10,000 individual requests.

The top five reasons why boaters called for on-the-water assistance in 2009 were:

1) General engine failures

2) Battery problems

3) Groundings

4) Out of fuel or fuel related problems

5) Propulsion system failures

"Boaters told us that they forgot to monitor their battery's charge level, delayed replacing a poorly performing battery or substituted a less expensive starting battery when a deep-cycle was needed," said Cardarelli. "And some boaters simply drained their batteries by running sound systems, refrigerators, and fans," he added.

"For the 2010 season, we suggest boaters should be vigilant about battery charge levels and basic maintenance such as cleaning or replacing corroded wiring," said Cardarelli.

"Spending a little now could save you from an expensive tow, not to mention the aggravation," he added.

For information, go to www.BoatUS.com/towing .