BoatUS - Boat Owners Association of The United States

On Water Boating Assistance Comes to North Carolina's High Rock Lake

As Capt. Lee Sykes Opens His Eighth TowBoatUS Port

Capt. Lee Sykes has been helping North Carolina boaters get home safely since he opened his first TowBoatUS business in Beaufort, NC in 2010. This spring he brought TowBoatUS, an on water towing and assistance service for recreational boaters, to High Rock Lake. It is his eighth TowBoatUS port and his sixth on a North Carolina lake.

His business keeps growing, Sykes said, because of customer demand. A large percentage of North Carolina boaters trailer their boats, and they like to go boating on different lakes and coastal bays. When they get to know TowBoatUS and the great service it offers, they ask them to bring the service to a lake near their home. That's exactly what happened with HighRock Lake, Sykes said.

Much like an auto club for boaters, TowBoatUS offers on water towing plans for freshwater boaters and anglers for just $72 a year that includes BoatUS membership. Without a towing plan, boaters face costs that average $750 per incident nationally.

Capt. Lee Sykes
Capt. Lee Sykes

Sykes, a former EMT, firefighter and charter fishing captain, hires dedicated local US Coast Guard licensed captains to run each of his ports, but he spends a lot of time on the water himself. There is no place else he'd rather be, except perhaps hanging out with his wife, Kristen, and their daughter, Charli, who will turn two in August. "Helping people is the best part of it," he said. "When you help someone out and they know the whole thing is paid for by their BoatUS Unlimited annual towing plan and they don't owe a penny, they’re happy. It just doesn't get any better than that."

High Rock Lake, the second largest lake in North Carolina, is a 15,000-acre reservoir with 365 miles of shoreline set in the hills near the Uwharrie Mountains. "It's gorgeous," Sykes said, "It is a popular fishing and boating area. Now we are there to help anyone who has a breakdown, needs fuel, a jumpstart or any other kind of routine assistance."

TowBoatUS High Rock Lake is based at Skipjack Marina in Southmont, where Sykes keeps two boats, a 21-foot Parker with a 200-horsepower outboard and an 18-foot Downeaster with a 150 horsepower outboard. Both boats are painted a distinctive red with white TowBoatUS lettering and bow stripes on each side. They are fully equipped for towing and salvage with dewatering pumps, dive gear, lift bags, towing gear, battery jump packs and extra fuel.

Sykes' TowBoatUS business is North Carolina's largest on water towing assistance company. "We have more locations and more boats than any other company," he said. His other ports are in Beaufort, Swansboro, Jordon Lake, Falls Lake, Sharon Harris Lake, Gaston Lake and Kerr Lake.

TowBoatUS High Rock Lake can be hailed on VHF channel 16 or reached by calling 919-303-1669 or by calling the BoatUS toll-free 24/7 Dispatch Center at 800-391-4869, and via smartphone with the free BoatUS Towing App. BoatUS is also the only towing service that offers services with both SPOT and DeLorme inReach satellite communication devices. More information can be found at or call 800-888-4869.

About BoatUS TowBoatUS and Vessel Assist:

Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is the nation's leading advocate, services and safety group for recreational boaters. We provide our over half-million members with a wide array of helpful services, including 24-hour on water towing that gets you safely home when your boat won't, will bring you fuel if you run out, jumpstart your dead battery, or provide a gentle pull after you've run aground. The TowBoatUS and Vessel Assist towing fleets are the North America's largest network of towing ports with over 300 locations and over 600 towing assistance vessels, responding to over 70,000 requests for assistance each year. See more at



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