Industry mourns Sea Tow founder

Sea Tow founder and chief executive Capt. Joseph Frohnhoefer Jr. died peacefully Tuesday at his home in Southold, N.Y.

Sea Tow Services International said its founder and chief executive Capt. Joseph Frohnhoefer Jr. died peacefully Tuesday at his home in Southold, N.Y., after a brief battle with cancer.

His wife of more than 46 years, Georgia, was by his side, the company said.

Frohnhoefer remained at the helm of Sea Tow, the international on-water assistance company he founded in 1983, until the end. He was 71 years old.

A visionary entrepreneur and lifelong first responder who made saving lives and helping others his priority, Frohnhoefer leaves a lasting legacy on the marine industry.

In addition to running Sea Tow with the help of his wife; daughter Kristen Frohnhoefer; and son, Capt. Joseph Frohnhoefer III, he was a volunteer EMT in his local community on Long Island’s North Fork.

He served two terms on the U.S. Towing Safety Advisory Committee, which was formed to advise the U.S. Transportation Secretary on matters related to shallow-draft inland and coastal waterway navigation and towing safety.

Frohnhoefer also co-founded C-PORT (the Conference of Professional Operators for Response Towing), the national association for the marine assistance industry, in 1986 and served on C-PORT’s board until his death.

He received many awards for his efforts on behalf of the recreational boater and the boating industry.

“Capt. Joe’s family, friends, Sea Tow franchisees and the countless boaters he has aided directly and indirectly throughout the years mourn the loss of this irreplaceable industry icon,” a company statement on his passing said.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the following organizations:

  • Southold Fire Department; checks may be mailed to the Southold FD, P.O. Box 1469, Southold, N.Y. 11971
  • Sea Tow Foundation; checks can be mailed to the Sea Tow Foundation, P.O. Box 1325, Southold, N.Y. 11971


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