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Tow captains honored for lifesaving efforts

With more than 600 towboats spread across North America, the law of averages dictates that eventually BoatUS towing captains will be thrust into the middle of life-threatening emergencies.

BoatUS Towing Services recently honored five of its captains — four with Meritorious Service Awards and one with the BoatUS Woody Pollack Lifesaving Award — at a ceremony that recently capped the group’s annual conference in Clearwater Beach, Fla.

Last summer, Capt. Sean McKinney, of Vessel Assist Lake Havasu, Ariz.,was towing a BoatUS member in Havasu Springs Marina when he heard screams. He quickly dropped the tow and found the source of the sound a few slips away. It was the mother of a 7-year-old boy who had jumped off the stern of the family’s powerboat and was hit by the prop as the boy’s father was backing into the slip.

McKinney grabbed his first aid kit and raced to respond.

“Sometimes the routine of a normal day is interrupted by a life-threatening mayday call or an incident that unfolds in front of them, and our captains step in without hesitation,” BoatUS vice president and director of towing services Adam Wheeler said in a statement. “They are not in the rescue business, but their actions save others. We are very proud of them.”

Click here for details on each of the awardees’ rescues.