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Safe/Sea offers free tows to military

Any Rhode Islander who has fought in a dangerous combat zone is eligible for one-year’s free membership

Any Rhode Islander who has fought in a dangerous combat zone is eligible for one-year’s free membership

Safe/Sea in Wickford, R.I., is thanking Ocean State boaters who served in Iraq and other dangerous combat zones with a free towing membership this year.

The program was announced at the Providence Boat Show in January, and has so far been enthusiastically received by Rhode Islanders, says Safe/Sea owner John Andrews.

Andrews says the idea for the promotion “just came to him” one day as a way to help recent veterans. “It seemed like a good idea,” says Andrews. “It’s an awful thing to [serve in a war].”

And while Andrews hopes the program attracts new business, he says it will also reward existing members, who are also eligible. By early February a dozen veterans had signed up for the service. Andrews says many of those were previous customers. The company expects to give away between 25 and 40 memberships, Andrews says.

Any Rhode Island boat owner, and current or former member of a U.S. uniformed service who served during 2004 or 2005 in a combat zone, is eligible for a one-year premier boat towing membership for their boat.

“We didn’t restrict it to Iraq,” says Andrews. Other dangerous combat zones include Afghanistan, Bahrain, Croatia, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Montenegro, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines (for some), Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Serbia (Kosovo), Tajikistan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Yemen, in addition to Iraq.

But Andrews says the rules aren’t ironclad — the company even approved a free membership for a 1991 Gulf War veteran. Safe/Sea only asks for a copy of a record that establishes service, along with a copy of the boat registration. Safe/Sea is a marine assistance company that offers pre-paid on-the-water towing memberships to Rhode Island boaters. They have a fleet of six modern rigid-hull inflatable vessels that patrol Narragansett Bay, as well as from Montauk to Cuttyhunk, and 25 miles south of Block Island. n