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Tow services gearing up for long weekend

MAY 26 — With the boating season officially kicking off Memorial Day, anticipating as many as 3,000 requests for on-water assistance during the holiday weekend.

“We expect the switchboards at our 24-hour call centers will start to light up on Friday the 26th and stay busy through the weekend,” says BoatU.S. Towing Services vice president Jerry Cardarelli in a statement.

The association says the number of requests for assistance typically is an indicator of recreational boating volume around the country. “Fuel prices are affecting the offshore powerboating and fishing enthusiasts, more so in some areas such as the West Coast and the Pacific Northwest,” Cardarelli says. “In the Northeast we expect traffic to be flat or slightly lower. And the Gulf region has lost a large portion of its recreational vessels to hurricanes, so we are expecting numbers to be down in that region.”

He says the wild card this weekend is the weather. “If it stays good, more people will be on the water, and with that comes more breakdowns,” he says.

BoatU.S. Towing Services — which offers such services as jump starts, fuel drop-offs and towing — includes more than 500 TowBoatU.S. and Vessel Assist response boats in 260 ports.

— Jason Fell