With families around the country on lockdown because of the coronavirus, some are looking for a reprieve from the confines of their homes and taking to their boats.
“We’ve been busy,” said Sea Tow International president Kristen Frohnhoefer.
Headquartered in Southold, N.Y., on the north fork of Long Island, the company has been working remotely since March 12 and has remained 100 percent operational. Sea Tow has implemented social distancing even as it responds to calls for assistance, in addition to implementing extra safety measures, Frohnhoefer said.
“We operate 24/7, so we invested in laptops and external monitors,” she said. “We were able to get equipment because we were ordering so early.”
Sea Tow has seen call its volume and response rates increase at several of its nearly 100 locations, “in areas where people are actively out boating,” Frohnhoefer said. “Our call lines are about 300 percent higher the last two weekends, compared to the same weekends last year. Even where ramps are closed, it seems they’re trailering to other cities and towns because they want to go boating.”
In areas where the spring boating season is just getting underway, Frohnhoefer said, a tremendous number of people are reaching out to marinas to inquire about getting their boats on the water immediately.
Consequently, Sea Tow is urging boaters to practice social distancing to reduce the chance of ramp shutdowns, as was the case after photos of several hundred boats on a sandbar went viral.
“Like most of the industry, we see boating as a great escape,” Frohnhoefer said. “We just want people to be boating responsibly — enjoy a day on the water, keeping a distance and come directly home — so we can all do what we love.”