East Texas tug-boaters help stranded boats

East Texas tug-boaters help stranded boats
Photo: KTRE
Photo: KTRE

Dan Small manages a towing business. He doesn't tow cars, he tows boats.

East Texas houses a lot of natural waters properties, including Lake Sam Rayburn. With the lake bring almost 80 miles long, his is the only business towing stranded boats.

His business began about two years ago when he and his dad recognized a need.

“We saw a guy who was having some trouble on the lake and we started figuring out what could be done about people who were in trouble,” Small said.

That experience has taught Small the three main reasons boaters need his help.

“The most common is electrical problems, the second most common is lower unit problem and the third most common that we found, as of now, is storms,” Small said.

In the past four weekends, he had serviced calls late as 11:30 p.m. and nearing the early morning hours to haul the boat back to the shore.

“We've done rescues out of the dam before where they're being sucked into the generators,” Small said. “We found a boat here a while back of a gentleman who had drowned. We didn't know that at the time, but we found his boat and later did a search for him.”

The most frequent calls he accepts are from families, but during fishing tournament season, Small receives several calls from fishing teams.

Servicing not only at Lake Sam Rayburn, but also the Toledo Bend Reservoir, Small said it is his way to accept the call to serve.

“Every time there is a storm, somebody gets stranded on the water somewhere and you have to go out and get them,” Small said.

The boat captain said in the past month, the business has gotten up to at least eight phone calls each weekend of stranded boaters.

His biggest safety tip: Wear a life jacket. 

Contact Small at 936-715-8748 for details on his services. 

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