The number of Fourth of July weekend marine assistance calls to Sea Tow Services International Inc., the world's largest, and only international, marine assistance organization, increased by 25 percent over 2008 as more boaters celebrated on the water. The increase follows two consecutive years in which Fourth of July-related assistance calls to Sea Tow's nearly 100 U.S. franchise locations remained flat, suggesting that despite the economic recession, boaters spent more time on the water this Fourth of July weekend enjoying the many lifestyle benefits of boating.
"With fuel prices at the dock down by more than 30 percent in some locations this summer versus last, it's clear that many boaters decided to celebrate the nation's 233rd birthday doing what they most enjoy - recreating on the water," said Capt. Joseph Frohnhoefer III, Sea Tow's Chief Operations Officer. "This naturally led to an increase in boating assistance calls to Sea Tow operators around the U.S."
Calls to Sea Tow's 24-hour National Dispatch Center increased by 37 percent over the 2008 Fourth of July holiday, while requests for vessel assistance from Sea Tow were up by 25 percent overall. Overnight calls for the July 4-5 period, when boaters typically head out to enjoy fireworks displays from the water, increased by 34 percent.
More than 1,300 service calls were reported by over 80 percent of Sea Tow's 98 operators nationwide, who were surveyed for this annual Fourth of July report. Of that total they responded to:
?923 fuel drop requests
?109 jump starts
?6 U.S. Coast Guard MARBS (Marine Assistance Request Broadcasts)
Sea Tow Central and North Texas, Sea Tow Atlantic City, N.J., and Sea Tow Freeport in Baldwin, NY, reported the highest activity levels in the network. Sea Tow captains also were involved in at least a half-dozen life-saving incidents across the country. (For a full report on three rescues made by Sea Tow Miami over the Fourth of July weekend, please see the attached press release.)
Sea Tow's franchise network employed over 400 staffers and had more than 300 boats on patrol that burned in excess of 17,000 gallons of fuel while assisting boaters in need throughout the three-day weekend. Over 100 boats and numerous man-hours were volunteered by Sea Tow operators to local fireworks celebrations throughout the country.
Sea Tow Services International also reported that membership sales over the Fourth of July weekend were steady compared with last year's figures.
"We are happy to see boaters getting out there and enjoying their vessels. We hope that with good weather and steady gas prices this trend will continue," Frohnhoefer said. "We are glad our Sea Tow operators are there to be of assistance when needed, but as always, we hope boaters will be careful out there."
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 more than 110 locations throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. For a full list of membership benefits, or to inquire about becoming a Sea Tow Services International franchise owner, please visit www.seatow.com.