June 19, 2017

Towboatus Mentor(L to R) The crew of TowBoatUS Mentor, Deckhand George Vojush, Jr., new Owner Captain Jake Hardy, and Deckhand Justin Hardy.

Capt. Jake Hardy, the new owner of TowBoatUS Mentor, an on-water towing and assistance service for recreational boaters, has been a lifelong Lake Erie boater. “I’ve never lived more than a mile from the lake, and I’ve been boating and fishing since I was a kid,” he said.

Hardy’s passion for being on the water is what led him to take a job at TowBoatUS Mentor four years ago. When Capt. Lenny Andreasik, the previous owner, decided he no longer had time to run the business full time, Hardy, who had been his primary towboat captain for the last two years, was his chosen successor. In fact, the two work so well together that Andreasik is now working part time for Hardy.

Much like an auto club for boaters, BoatUS offers TowBoatUS Unlimited Freshwater Towing Membership Plans for boaters and anglers for just $72 a year, which includes BoatUS membership. Boaters face costs that average $700 per towing incident – with some paying into the thousands out of pocket – when they don’t have an annual BoatUS towing service plan.

Lake Erie is a busy, popular and expansive boating area where waves can kick up suddenly when the wind starts to blow. “We sometimes get 10-footers,” said Hardy, who remembers throwing a line to a man in a personal watercraft that was drifting toward rocks one windy day after the engine died. “He was very happy to see me,” Hardy said, “and when I towed him back to his marina, he introduced me as his new best friend.”

Most of the calls Hardy gets are more routine: boaters asking for battery jumps, fuel deliveries and tows back home when they have engine problems. Whatever the need, Hardy, who holds a U.S. Coast Guard Master License, is ready to help 24/7. He also works closely with the local USCG base as a Good Samaritan asset, helping boaters in distress.

TowBoatUS Mentor covers Lake Erie from just east of Cleveland to the Pennsylvania border, with service on the Canadian side of the lake as well – some 900-square-miles of water, according to Hardy. His two assist boats, a 30-foot Sea Craft with a 400-hp inboard engine and a 26-foot Shamrock with a 300-hp inboard, are docked Mentor Lagoons Marina. The TowBoatUS name is emblazoned in bright white letters on their red hulls, and each is fully rigged for towing and salvage, with powerful pumps, battery jump packs, dive gear and extra fuel.

Boaters can reach TowBoatUS Mentor by hailing on VHF channel 16, by tapping the all-new free BoatUS Smartphone App, by calling the company directly at 440-590-5953, or by phoning the BoatUS toll-free 24/7 Dispatch Center at 800-391-4869.

More information can be found at BoatUS.com/towing or call 800-888-4869.

 

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