STEINHATCHEE, Fla., May 10, 2012 - When Capt. Dave Ludwick,
who ran boat-towing services in Newport, R.I., and Naples,
Fla., for more than 20 years, heard that the operator of
TowBoatUS Steinhatchee, Fla., was retiring last summer, he
jumped at the chance to buy the towing port.
"My wife and I tried semi-retirement, and we didn't like
it," said Ludwick, who is a young 60. "About five years
ago, we bought a mobile home park just north of Pensacola,
but there wasn't enough excitement for us, and we missed
the ocean. We wanted to go back to our roots, so we talked
to BoatUS." Ludwick, who holds a 100-ton USCG Master
license, now runs the on-the-water services side of the
business while his wife, Pat, manages the office.
"I love the water," said Ludwick, who has been boating
since he was six years old. "And I love helping
people," he continued, "so this is the perfect job for me.
It keeps me on the water, and it gives me a great feeling
to assist boaters who need a little help."
His two towboats, a 23-foot Anacapri with a 200-horsepower
outboard and a 23-foot Maine-built Pointer with an inboard
diesel, are both rigged for towing and salvage, with
powerful pumps, battery jump packs, dive gear and extra
fuel. They are both painted a distinctive red with the
words "TowBoatUS" on the hull.
Much like an auto club for recreational boaters,
TowBoatUS, a program of Boat Owners Association of The
United States (BoatUS), offers an on-the-water towing
service plan for salt waters (and FL) that costs just
year. The plan includes BoatUS or BoatUS
Angler membership. Without a towing plan, boaters face
out-of-pocket costs that nationally average about $600
per incident, or $250 per hour.
Steinhatchee (pronounced steen-hatchee) is a charming
fishing village in the Big Bend area of Florida's west
coast that is known as the "scallop capital" of the
sunshine state. "This place just explodes when the scallop
season opens," Ludwick said. During scallop season (June 15
- September 15), the town's population grows from about
1,200 to nearly 5,000, with many visitors bringing their
own boats and launching them at the town's new
"first-class" boat ramp. Since it is a deepwater port
with good marine facilities, Steinhatchee is also a popular
stopping place for long-distance cruisers. Ludwick is on
call 24/7 to assist any of them.
Boaters can contact TowBoatUS Steinhatchee by hailing on
VHF channel 16, calling 352-498-5450, or calling the
BoatUS toll-free Dispatch Service at 800-391-4869. To see
the location on a map, go to www.BoatUS.com/steinhatchee.
TowBoatUS Steinhatchee is part of the world's largest
boat towing program with over 600 towboats servicing
hundreds of ports and waterways. Towing is just one
service offered by BoatUS - Boat Owners Association of
The United States - the nation's leading advocate for
recreational boaters providing its half-million members
with government representation, consumer programs and
or call 800-391-4869.