ALEXANDRIA, Va. – When your boat breaks down on the water or runs out of gas, calling for an on-the-water tow is simple. The hard part, sometimes, is being able to tell the BoatUS towing fleet precisely where to find you, which can delay a safe tow home.
Now, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) offers ta smart phone “App” that helps you call for a tow in a hurry and also adds helpful location and tracking features just for boaters, sailors and anglers. And, according to a press release, you don’t have to be a BoatUS or BoatUS Angler member to download the free App.
“The new BoatUS App can greatly improve towboat response times due to the accuracy of the GPS latitude and longitude technology built into these high tech phones,” said BoatUS Vice President of Towing Services, Jerry Cardarelli. “The moment you hit the App’s ‘Call Now for a Tow’ button, it automatically provides us with critical information before our crew even answers the phone. We think the App really adds a new layer of comfort and peace of mind.”
Available for iPhones and Android phones, the App is available by going towww.BoatUS.com/app. Once uploaded to your smart phone and information is entered, the App is ready to go and gives boaters three choices: Call Now for a Tow, Share Your Location, and BoatUS Directory.
When “Call Now for a Tow” is activated, the App operates similarly to the roadside assistance operator system built into General Motors vehicles – data, including your boat’s precise latitude and longitude, it’s make, length, your emergency contact information, whether you have a working VHF radio aboard, and your smart phone number, are automatically provided to the BoatUS 24-hour dispatch centers before voice communication takes place. “The first thing we’ll ask is if everyone onboard is safe, and then we’ll use this critical information to arrange for a tow,” said Cardarelli in the press release.
BoatUS members with the association’s nationwide roadside Trailer Assist service can also take this App with them from the water to the road to summon help for a disabled vehicle or boat trailer (while towing). Trailer Assist will even winch your rig out of a slippery boat launch ramp when you’re stuck in the mud.
The “Share Your Location” feature makes it easy to privately send text messages or emails containing your latitude and longitude with a Google map link, alerting your friends to where the fish are biting, or where the big raft up is on Saturday afternoon.
Additionally, anytime the App is activated it automatically displays latitude and longitude at the top of the phone’s display – regardless of cell coverage. This feature turns a smart phone into a backup GPS, essentially allowing boaters to use the latitude and longitude information to give to rescuers via VHF radio. (BoatUS reminds boaters that a VHF marine radio should be any boater’s first choice for emergency communications.)
The BoatUS Towing App can also work well with your float plan, allowing you to easily text or email loved ones ashore, allowing them to “track” your trip on the BoatUS online Member Service Locator map. The App also gives smart phone users the option of seeing their own location on Google maps (when their cell phone’s Internet connection is operable).
Lastly, the “BoatUS Directory” feature allows boaters to join or renew membership with the association very easily over the phone, get a quote for BoatUS insurance, file an insurance claim, see BoatUS news online, or speak to the BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water.
For more information, go to BoatUS.com/app.