Sea Tow Services International reported a 25 percent increase in marine assistance calls over the Independence Day weekend, indicating that boaters spent more time on the water this year.
The increase follows two consecutive years in which Fourth of July-related assistance calls to Sea Tow's nearly 100 U.S. franchise locations remained flat.
"With fuel prices at the dock down by more than 30 percent in some locations, this summer versus last, it's clear that many boaters decided to celebrate the nation's 233rd birthday doing what they most enjoy - recreating on the water," said Capt. Joseph Frohnhoefer III, Sea Tow's chief operations officer, in a statement.
Calls to Sea Tow's 24-hour national dispatch center increased by 37 percent over the 2008 Fourth of July holiday, while requests for vessel assistance from Sea Tow were up 25 percent overall. Overnight calls for the July 4-5 period, when boaters typically head out to enjoy fireworks displays from the water, increased 34 percent.
More than 1,300 service calls were reported by more than 80 percent of Sea Tow's 98 operators nationwide. Sea Tow Central and North Texas, Sea Tow Atlantic City, N.J., and Sea Tow Freeport in Baldwin, N.Y., reported the highest activity levels in the network.
Sea Tow also reported that membership sales over the Fourth of July weekend were steady compared with last year's figures.