Sea Tow sees steady volume over holiday weekend

SOUTHOLD, N.Y. – Call traffic was down slightly from last year but responses to requests for marine assistance were up about 15 percent from the 2005 Fourth of July weekend, Sea Tow Services International Inc., reported yesterday.

The marine assistance organization received slightly over 3,900 phone calls during the five-day holiday weekend, just shy of last year’s record breaking volume, and responded to approximately 1,600 calls for marine assistance; an increase of nearly fifteen percent over last year.

Of the 1,600 service calls reported over the holiday period, which is recognized as the busiest recreational boating weekend of the year, there were: 879 tows, 147 ungroundings, 135 fuel drop requests; 123 jump starts; 52 salvages; 18 maydays and 13 MARBS.

Nearly 400 of the calls came during off-peak hours (between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.). Sea Tow Atlantic City, N.J., and Sea Tow Freeport, N.Y., reported the highest activity levels in the network.

Sea Tow’s franchise network employed well over 450 staffers and burned in excess of 21,000 gallons of fuel while assisting boaters in need throughout the five-day weekend. Over 130 boats and numerous man-hours were also volunteered to local fireworks celebrations throughout the country.

“Despite the current market environment, our overall phone volume remained steady, with a fairly significant increase in requests for on-water assistance,” said Capt. Joseph Frohnhoefer III, Sea Tow’s vice president of operations. “To us, this indicates a steady level of boating activity despite a flat economy, high fuel costs and relatively low boat sales being reported.”

Sea Tow also recorded member usage of it’s recently launched Sea Smart VHF communications service, which showed a significant number of direct-to-shore VHF phone calls from boaters to the company’s national marine operators, particularly during the latter part of the holiday weekend.

The company also reported a 60 percent increase over last year in both new and renewing memberships online.

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