Towboat Us San Diego
We recently got to chat with Capt. Tony Olson of TowBoatUS San Diego . Capt. Tony started working in the business as a deckhand back in 2001. He has been in the assistance business ever since and offers some great insights and funny stories from his boating career.
TowBoatUS is a nationwide network of independently owned and operated towing companies employing local Captains like Tony. They operate the familiar bright-red towboats and their services include much more than just towing stranded boaters. Capt. Tony says, “ While about 85% of our business is towing, we offer many other types of assistance, many of which can get a disabled vessel operating again and save their day on the water. We offer jump starts, fuel deliveries, oil and parts deliveries, dewatering, salvage and dock to dock towing.”
Capt. Tony’s crew operates several towboats including a 28-foot RHIB and an 850-horsepowered twin diesel.
Towboatus boats are well-maintained and ready to deploy at a moments notice.
I asked Capt. Tony what is like to be on call and has it ever happened at just the wrong time? He replied, “ I get calls all the time and someone has to drop and go. We take turns, but I do recall the time I had to leave the Padres playoff games to save a boat that went thought the surf and landed on the beach. It’s part of what we do, and helping people in need is the biggest reward. You also never know what’s going to happen next, so it never gets old.”
Speaking of crazy events, I asked about any stories he could recall and several came to mind. Capt. Tony recounted the time someone called for help because a shark that they had boated had been flopping around and chewed through their wire harness to the engine. “The shark had disabled the boat and they had to call us for a tow”, said Tony.
“Another incident involved a member of Bloodydecks. One time one of our young captains was headed out for his first solo tow. He had to tow a skiff in from La Jolla, but during the process he wrapped the stranded boat’s anchor line. The boats got together and made for a moment, but it all worked out and nothing was damaged. Not long after that, a post was made on Bloodydecks poking fun at our company and that one issue. As karma would have it, shortly after the online comments, a boat was reported rolled over at Point Loma.
I responded to the call and low and behold it was the very same Bloodydecks member who had been taking us to task online. We helped him out of course, and after a 24-hour tow and much work to save his boat; we parted on good terms and a hearty handshake. Shortly thereafter, this BD’er posted a two-page retraction of his harsh comments on Bloodydecks. All is well that ends well.”, Tony said.
In October, TowBoatUS and Capt. Tony were on hand to help rescue the Commander as she was sinking offshore of Dana Point. They answered the call to help and rescued the two Commander crewmembers, as they were not carrying passengers. They secured the boat with float bags to keep her from going down and then towed awash to calmer waters where they undertook the long process of floating it and delivering it to Marine Group Boat Works.
Capt. Tony has seen a lot of things over the course of his time on the water. He offered some advice for fellow boaters to heed. “I always recommend that boaters make sure your bilge pumps are working and that you carry a spare pump that is wired and ready to go. A jump box is often handy, like the Weego battery jumper. Of course all of the required safety gear is essential and please wear a lifejacket.”
Following these few steps can prevent many issues, but if you find yourself in need of help, TowBoatUS is always here for you.
Capt. Tony’s Tips
- Check your bilge pumps
- Have a wired spare pump
- Carry a battery jump box
- Have and maintain all safety gear
- Wear your lifejacket
Photo Credit – TowBoatUS San Diego Facebook