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Sea Tow hands out lifesaving awards

Sea Tow Services International honored Capt. Ryan Saporito (center) of Sea Tow Wrightsville Beach, N.C., for saving five people after their boat capsized. Also shown are Coast Guard Capt. William Carter (left), deputy director of incident management and preparedness policy, and Sea Tow CEO Capt. Joseph Frohnhoefer III.

Sea Tow Services International honored Capt. Ryan Saporito (center) of Sea Tow Wrightsville Beach, N.C., for saving five people after their boat capsized. Also shown are Coast Guard Capt. William Carter (left), deputy director of incident management and preparedness policy, and Sea Tow CEO Capt. Joseph Frohnhoefer III.

Sea Tow Services International Inc. honored several captains at the company’s annual awards banquet for lifesaving efforts during the past year.

The event was a highlight of the organization’s 2017 Annual Meeting, which brought Sea Tow operators from across the country to the Embassy Suites Downtown Convention Center in Tampa Nov. 14-16.

Sea Tow CEO Capt. Joseph Frohnhoefer III presented the awards.

“We couldn’t be more proud of the response from our captains when lives are on the line,” Frohnhoefer said in a statement. “These awards are our way of showing how much we appreciate the way these captains have stepped up to go above and beyond the call of duty when boaters needed them most.”

Honored were:

  • Capt. Chris Allen, of Sea Tow Palm Beach, Fla., for locating and rescuing six missing divers who had been separated from their 38-foot Burpee boat three nautical miles east of Jupiter Inlet
  • Capt. Mike Dillon, of Sea Tow Fort Myers, Fla., for finding and saving two men who were struggling to tread water without PFDs after their 17-foot Boston Whaler capsized near York Island
  • Capts. Tom Carter and Mike Dillon, also of Sea Tow Fort Myers, for rescuing six family members from their capsized 17-foot Larson after the vessel was swamped by a yacht on the Caloosahatchee River
  • Capts. Cody Catapano, Zachary Willis and Raven Bolster of Sea Tow Crystal Coast in Morehead City, N.C., for fighting rough seas to save three passengers whose 44-foot sailboat capsized and sank near Cape Lookout Shoals; Willis also won two other above-and-beyond awards for locating and rescuing missing kayakers whose boats capsized during a storm; Catapano also won an above-and-beyond award for locating and rescuing an injured man who was knocked unconscious after he hit his head on a table when his 36-foot Lohr ran up on a shoal
  • Capt. Ryan Saporito of Sea Tow Wrightsville Beach, N.C., for braving deteriorating conditions to save five passengers after their 22-foot Sea Chaser was pushed into rocks, causing it to capsize
  • Capts. Clay Hughes and Kendrick Schwartz, of Sea Tow Ocean Isle in North Carolina, for saving two small girls and their parents after their 24-foot cabin cruiser lost all power and capsized near Shallotte Inlet; Schwartz also won an above-and-beyond award for rescuing a woman off Bald Head Island who went overboard and was separated from her 40-foot sailboat after being caught in the river’s current.

The following were among those honored for efforts above and beyond the call of duty:

  • Capt. Quincy Eagles of Sea Tow Fort Myers, Fla., won two awards for saving a missing jet skier, as well as rescuing two men and a child aboard a sinking 23-foot Hurricane in the Palaco Canal
  • Capts. Joe Fiedler and Todd Ingram of Sea Tow Panama City, Fla., for locating and rescuing three fisherman whose boat sank outside St. Andrew’s Pass
  • Capt. Brian Wood of Sea Tow Santa Monica, Calif., for braving gale-force winds and 6- to 8-foot seas to locate and rescue three mariners whose 28-foot tri-hull racing sailboat overturned nine miles outside Marina del Rey. 

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