Skip to main content

BoatUS honors captains for lifesaving efforts

With more than 600 towboats spread across North America, the law of averages dictates that eventually BoatUS towing captains will be thrust into the middle of life-threatening emergencies.

BoatUS Towing Services recently honored five of its captains — four with Meritorious Service Awards and one with the BoatUS Woody Pollack Lifesaving Award — at a ceremony that recently capped the group’s annual conference in Clearwater Beach, Fla., the organization announced.

Capt. Sean McKinney, of Vessel Assist Lake Havasu, Ariz., earned the Pollack award, which was named after a well-respected towboat captain in the fleet who died at an early age.

Last summer, McKinney was towing a BoatUS member in Havasu Springs Marina when he heard piercing screams. He quickly dropped the tow and found the source of the sound a few slips away. It was the mother of a 7-year-old boy who had jumped off the stern of the family’s powerboat as the boy’s father was backing into the slip.

Carrying his first-aid kit, as he had in the Army in combat, McKinney raced into action. The boy had two deep prop cuts to the bone on the calf and was bleeding badly. McKinney quickly applied a tourniquet, advised Vessel Assist Lake Havasu Base to summon help and continued to care for and comfort the boy and his family for 20 minutes before emergency responders could arrive at the remote location. The boy was medevaced to a Phoenix hospital and survived. McKinney’s quick actions and his ability to keep the boy and his father calm during the emergency saved the young man’s life.

Meritorious Service awards were given to Capt. Joe Burkett of TowBoatUS in Fernandina, Fla.; Capt. Mitch Kramer of TowBoatUS Oyster Bay, N.Y., who assisted with the July 4 rescue after a 34-foot cruiser carrying 27 people capsized; Capt. Harold “Smitty” Smith of TowBoatUS Sandy Hook, N.J.; and Capt. Robert Estrada of TowBoatUS Lake Lanier, Ga., who assisted in the recovery efforts after an accident killed 13-year-old Griffon Prince and his 9-year-old brother, Jake.

“Sometimes the routine of a normal day is interrupted by a life-threatening mayday call or an incident that unfolds in front of them, and our captains step in without hesitation,” Adam Wheeler, BoatUS vice president and director of towing services, said in a statement. “They are not in the rescue business, but their actions save others. We are very proud of them.”

Coast Guard Capt. Peter Martin presented the awards on behalf of BoatUS.

Click here for details on each of the awardees’ rescues.

Related

CRUISERS

Industry Mourns Cruisers Yachts Owner

K.C. Stock, who was 84, was known for his “commitment to the employees at Cruisers Yachts.”

GRANDBANKS

Grand Banks Purchases Florida Property

The parcel, which is opposite the company’s Stuart yard, has berths for up to nine boats and will increase service capabilities.

LIMESTONE-Q3

Limestone Boat Co. Posts Q3 Results

Unit production was down compared with the second quarter, and revenues decreased 33%.

SIREN-YAMAHA

Yamaha Dealers Now Carry Siren Systems

Siren Marine’s “Connected Boat” technology can be purchased and installed at more than 2,100 Yamaha outboard dealers.

Northpoint

Northpoint Expands Marine Presence

Northpoint Commercial Finance has partnered with Elite Recreational Finance to offer retail financing.

BRP

BRP Reports 71% Increase in Q3 Revenues

The Sea-Doo manufacturer had total revenue of $2.7 billion, but North American marine retail sales were down 47%.

Airmar

Airmar Announces Training Dates

Certified Installer and SmartBoat system classes are being held this month in New Jersey and next year in New Hampshire.

Norm

The Survey Says …

Surveying customers to find out what they think about your business has never been more important.

1_MDI

Marine Development Inc. Changes Hands

Mick Webber, the former president/CEO and owner of HydroHoist, has purchased the company from its founders.