TowBoatUS fleet in Florida Panhandle expands

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The owners of TowBoatUS Destin and TowBoatUS Panama City in the Florida Panhandle added a third franchise, TowBoatUS Mexico Beach. Capt. Robert Smith, who grew up near Mexico Beach, and business partner Capt. Charles Gorrell helped with the cleanup after Hurricane Michael in 2018 and saw an opportunity to expand.

“It was such a great community — we knew we definitely wanted to be a part of it,” Gorrell said in a statement.

The new location is Port St. Joe, Fla., but Gorrell said the response boats can be trailered to distress calls. “We believe adding this port will be great for everyone involved,” he said.

Gorrell and Smith are looking to grow their five-boat fleet by adding a 45- to 50-foot tug for longer tows and a smaller twin-engine boat for faster responses. All of their franchises are staffed by Coast Guard-licensed captains.

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