Paul Hopkins, the owner of Port Charles Harbor Marina in St. Charles, Mo., is the new owner of TowBoatUS St. Charles. “TowBoatUS has been providing great service to Mississippi River boaters for the last seven years,” Hopkins said. “As soon as we learned the former owner was leaving, we contacted BoatUS and said we wanted to take over.”
Hopkins bought Port Charles Harbor as a fixer-upper 20 years ago and turned it into a highly regarded full-service marina. This comes as no surprise, because he grew up in the marine business. At a young age, he was around his grandfather’s marina and ended up managing at his father’s marinas later in life. “I’ve always owned boats and loved boating,” he said. “It’s in my blood. I don’t believe I could do anything else. Adding TowBoatUS to our business feels right because customer service has always been our main focus. Now we can continue it on the water as well.”
The TowBoatUS St. Charles service area extends from the Winfield Lock and Dam at mile 241.4, to the Melvin Price Locks and Dam at mile 200.78 of the Mississippi River. The service area also includes the confluence of the Mississippi River and Illinois River up to Hardin.
Port Charles Harbor is located at mile 221.5 on the Upper Mississippi, which is in the middle of an extremely popular recreational boating area with 16 marinas and thousands of boats in a 40-mile stretch of clean, flat water between the locks and dams at Winfield, Missouri and Alton, Ill. Boaters from the Great Loop Association also visit the area regularly. “It is beautiful here,” Hopkins said. “When people go out there, they feel like they are on a lake instead of a river, but there are some shallow spots and rock dikes outside the channel, so they have to pay attention. If the unexpected happens, TowBoatUS is there to help when they end up on a sandbar, have a breakdown or run out of fuel.”
Two bright-red response boats, a 33-foot Cruisers express cruiser powered by twin 350-horsepower inboard engines and a 20-foot Tahoe runabout with a 235-horsepower inboard/outboard engine, are on call and ready to help 24/7. The TowBoatUS name is emblazoned in white letters on their hulls, and both are fully rigged for towing and salvage, with powerful pumps, battery jump packs, dive gear and extra fuel. All are helmed by experienced licensed captains.
Boaters can reach TowBoatUS St. Charles by hailing on VHF channel 16, calling the company directly at 636-250-2628, by phoning the BoatUS toll-free 24/7 Dispatch Center at 800-391-4869, or via smartphone using the free BoatUS Towing App. More information can be found at BoatUS.com/towing or call 800-888-4869.