sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Cruising Photo Gallery Video Gallery
Sail-World.com : Heroism of on the water boat towing service captains honored
Heroism of on the water boat towing service captains honored


'(L to R) BoatUS Vice President Public Affairs Scott Croft, TowBoatUS Yonkers Captain Daniel Higgins, TowBoatUS Beaufort Captain Lee Sykes, BoatUS CEO Brian Wesselman.'    BoatUS Press Room

In 2013, more than 70,000 recreational boaters called BoatUS Towing Services for routine on the water assistance. Engine breakdowns, running out of gas or running aground were typical requests. However, the captains across the nation who helm the 600 red towboats of the TowBoatUS and Vessel Assist fleets are sometimes put in the center of life-threatening emergencies. The on the water boat towing service recently honored four of its towing captains for their life-saving efforts at a ceremony capping off the annual BoatUS Towing Services conference held in Clearwater Beach, FL.

The captains were honored with 'Woody Pollack' awards, named after a well-respected towboat captain in the fleet who died at an early age. 'Our guys are not in the rescue business, but their actions save others,' said BoatUS Vice President and Director of Towing Services Adam Wheeler. 'We are very proud of them.' Here are the details on the incidents:

Captain George Farrell and Captain Daniel Higgins of TowBoatUS Yonkers, New York: It was a cold Sunday evening in January. Watching his single engine plane quickly fill up with icy water and unsure if he would survive, student pilot Christopher Smidt made two phone calls. The second was to 911. The first was to his wife, Karen.

'We crashed in the Hudson River and the plane is taking on water,' Smidt was quoted in a Yonkers Daily Voice. 'Tell the kids I love them. I have to go.' After an engine failure and successful water landing, Smidt's plane sat on the Hudson River, just 200 yards off shore of Yonkers, New York, and he instantly knew that any plans of swimming to safety would be impossible. At about the same time a 911 dispatcher was talking Smidt and his flight instructor into walking out on the wing of their sinking plane, a few miles away Captain George Farrell of TowBoatUS Yonkers got a phone call asking if his towboat was in the water and available to respond.

Farrell, a retired Yonkers Police detective told authorities that due to recent ice conditions it was hauled, and instead offered up a steel-hulled Hudson River Pilot Boat. Farrell was soon joined by TowBoatUS Captain and Yonkers Police Officer Danny Higgins, and his son, Danny Jr. Along with some additional off-duty officers, the small group raced to the marina to depart.

As the lines were lifted on the Pilot Boat and it headed out into the dark night with 32-degree water temperatures, Captain Farrell supervised deck and lookout positions. With everyone's eyes peeled, the boat's spotlight swept across the dark ice flows, and soon a shout was heard. It was Smidt.

In the swift ebb tide, Capt. Higgins deftly piloted the rescue boat to Smidt, who was safety brought aboard. However, the plane's flight instructor was unresponsive at first, unable to grab the ring buoy when it was tossed to her. Rescuers were finally able to get her safely aboard as well, and both were rushed to the hospital. Smidt and his flight instructor were discharged the following day and fully recovered.

Captain Lee Sykes and Captain Grey Williams of TowBoatUS Beaufort, North Carolina: 'I'm 42 years old and that's the most scared I have ever been in my life,' said William Blandford in a WCTI News 12 interview.

The Greenville NC resident is describing the morning of a fishing trip last April, when just before 9:00AM while fishing with a co-worker 11-miles off the Beaufort inlet, Blandford's 30-foot, twin outboard sportfish began to take on water. Without being able to pinpoint the leak, the men were soon in waist-deep in Atlantic seawater. 'Out there by yourself, with a boat full of water, you really don't think you are going to make it back,' said Blandford.

TowBoatUS Beaufort Dispatch center overheard Blandford's VHF radio distress call and Captain Lee Sykes and Captain Grey Williams of TowBoatUS Beaufort immediately responded. Both TowBoatUS Beaufort and a 47-foot USCG motor lifeboat arrived at the stricken vessel just before 11:00AM.

Pumps were brought aboard. But it was too late. Filled with thousands of pounds of cold seawater, the sportfish rolled. Complicating matters was US Coast Guard rescuer who was swept overboard by a large wave. The young Coast Guardsman's foot became entangled on dock lines, dragging him under with the sinking boat.

Captains Grey and Sykes rushed to help in the five-foot seas. In the rough water, Grey was able to cut the young man free - eventually cutting off his boot - to safely separate him from the tangle of dock line, while Sykes helped stabilize the wreckage and free the Coast Guard vessel. The Coast Guard took Blandford and his co-worker safely back to port.

BoatUS website


by BoatUS

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=118442

6:43 PM Thu 16 Jan 2014GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.







News - USA and the World









Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 CEO Knut Frostad talks (Part III) *Feature by Rob Kothe and the Sail-World team,


Audi Melges 20 World Championship - ‘Samba Pa Ti’ crowned champion by International Audi Melges 20 Class Association,










Audi Melges 20 World Championship - Final race to decide champion by International Audi Melges 20 Class Association,










Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show - 13 things to See and do by Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show,




Volvo Ocean Race: Update from Team Vestas Wind in images by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz,








Audi Melges 20 World Championship - Classic Garda conditions on day 2 by International Audi Melges 20 Class Association,
























Audi Melges 20 World Championship - Alessandro Rombelli's 'STIG' leads
Volvo Ocean Race: Call of Duty comes first for Team Alvimedica
Audi Melges 20 World Championship - Day 1 images by Stefano Gattini
Helping boaters understand weather basics
PWA Alacati World Cup - Exciting finish on day 2
Match 40s find the surface again + Video
Audi Melges 20 World Championship - Day 1 images by Max Ranchi
Clagett Regatta names first Executive Director
Transatlantic Race - Fleet expanded for 2015 edition
IFDS World Championship overall
Anna Tunnicliffe: Alinghi finishes second - Extreme Sailing Series
2014 18' Skiff International Regatta - Day 2
2014 Audi Melges 20 World Championship - It's go time in Garda
2nd Annual Keith Dinsmoor Regatta September 13-14
Aldo Alessio Regatta - Three days of tight racing
PWA Alacati World Cup - First blood to Van Der Steen and Offringa
Oakcliff Sailing hosts the Nacra 17, 49er and 49erFX Nationals + Video
International 18ft Skiff Regatta underway on San Francisco Bay
Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup 2014 - Quality fleet for Maxi Classic
Sailing Champions League - which is Europe's best sailing club?
Weta fun at the Wine & Roses Regatta   
Extreme Sailing Series: The Wave, Muscat claims victory on Cardiff Bay   
International 14 World Championships 2015: Not just for boys   
Rio de Janeiro achieves 50% treatment of sewage outflow *Feature   
2014 AWT Quatro Desert Showdown - Event memorable videos   
2014 18' Skiff Int Regatta: Day 1 at San Francisco - Reversal on beach   
Emirates Team NZ: Last race boost cannot save team from table bottom   
PWA Alacati World Cup - Furious slalom is upon us   
J/111 World Championships - The Winner is Shmokin Joe!   
J/24 US National Championship - Victory for Will Welles’ Cougar   
Extreme Sailing Series: View the Final Day's action - Replay   
NYYC Grandmasters Team Race - Reign continues for Noroton Yacht Club   
WSSR announces new World Record Around Britain and Ireland   
IFDS Worlds 2014 - Final day photos by Tim Wilkes   
2014 Detroit Cup - Morvan wins   
Newport Bucket Regatta 2014 -Images by George Bekris   
IFDS Worlds 2014 - Final report: USA qualifies for Rio 2016   
Extreme Sailing Series: Absent With-Out Leave – Ben Ainslie Racing   
2014 IFDS World Championship - New champions claim medals   
2014 IFDS World Championships - Sunday’s race images by Tim Wilkes   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW US
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT