Sea Tow reports that during the past July 4th weekend, which is traditionally one of the most active weekends of the boating year, there was a 19% increase in marine assistance calls over last year. The company says that the excessive heat that blanked the central and northeastern U.S. seaboard and a general increase in boating activity accounted for the rise in calls. What was most interesting to us was the breakdown for what the assistance calls to Sea Tow were actually for.
Sea Tow has 121 franchise operations throughout the U.S., Europe, Australia, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
From Sea Tow Press Release--Southold, N.Y., July 7, 2010 – Sea Tow Services International Inc., the world’s largest and only international marine assistance organization, reported a 19-percent increase in marine assistance calls during the four-day Fourth of July holiday weekend compared to the same period in 2009.
This increase in activity, seen for the second year in a row, was due largely to excessive heat blanketing much of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast that sent boaters flocking to the water. However, combined with Sea Tow’s strong Memorial Day statistics, it also points to a possible long-awaited rise in boating participation, which could bode well for the struggling marine industry. Sea Tow also reported a nine-percent increase in membership sales in the week leading up to this Fourth of July.
Capt. Joe Says...
“With extraordinarily hot weather along much of the Eastern seaboard, boaters certainly seemed eager to seek refuge on the water,” said Capt. Joe Frohnhoefer, Sea Tow’s Founder & CEO. “This kept our franchisees very busy over the four-day weekend. Thankfully, this weekend appears to have been a relatively safe one, despite the increase in on-water traffic.”
Breakdown of Assistance Calls
More than 1,000 service calls were reported by 77 percent of Sea Tow’s 98 franchise locations nationwide who were surveyed for this annual Fourth of July report. Of that total, they responded to:
Sea Tow Freeport (N.Y.), Sea Tow Atlantic City (N.J.), Sea Tow Charleston (S.C.), Sea Tow Southern Connecticut and Sea Tow Great South Bay (N.Y.) reported the highest activity levels in the network. Sea Tow captains also responded to at least nine boating accidents this weekend.
One such incident occurred in the Boston area when the M/V Massachusetts, an 87-foot whale-watching boat, began sinking with more than 168 passengers and six crew onboard after striking submerged glacial rocks known locally as Devil’s Back. The vessel hit the rocks after leaving the marked shipping channel, the reasons for which are under investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard. Captains from Sea Tow Boston worked with the U.S. Coast Guard, local officials and fellow towboat operators to ensure that everyone aboard was safely evacuated. They then worked to patch the hull of the aluminum boat, de-water it, and return it to port.
500 Boats on Patrol
Sea Tow’s franchise network employed more than 775 staffers and had nearly 500 boats on patrol that burned more than 14,000 gallons of fuel while assisting boaters in need throughout the four-day weekend. Numerous man-hours also were volunteered by Sea Tow locations nationwide as they sent boats and captains to assist with local fireworks celebrations.
“We are happy to see boaters getting out there and enjoying boating in a way that’s safe. We hope the good weather continues and boaters are able to take advantage of all the great things offered by waterfront communities nationwide,” Frohnhoefer said. “We are glad our Sea Tow operators are available to help when needed, but as always, we encourage boaters to remain vigilant and follow all safety precautions.”
NOTE: The results of this year’s statistical analysis include the national Sea Tow network’s activity level from Friday, July 2 through Monday, July 5, 2010 with 77 percent of the network reporting. In 2009, 80 percent of the network reported survey data.
About Sea Tow:
Sea Tow Services International Inc. is the nation’s leading marine assistance provider. Founded in 1983 by Chairman & CEO Capt. Joe Frohnhoefer, Sea Tow now serves over 160,000 members in nearly 100 locations throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. For a full list of membership benefits, or to inquire about becoming a Sea Tow franchise owner, please visit seatow.com.