Capt. John Ward’s commitment to serve, help and protect the community runs deep in his heritage. As a third-generation boat salver, Capt. John was born to be a Sea Tow captain and owner of four Sea Tow franchises in the Southeast.
Capt. John grew up on the waters of southern Florida watching and learning from his grandfather. Captain Glenn Ward was one of the inaugural leaders in the boat towing and salvaging industry with experience dating back to 1960 when he opened a dive charter business in Key Largo. Once free towing in non-life-threatening situations was cut from the Coast Guard’s charter in 1983, Capt. John’s grandfather was ready to expand his business and provide tows to boaters all over the Florida Keys - much like Sea Tow’s founder, Capt. Joe Frohnhoefer, Jr.
“My granddad and Capt. Joe probably had a lot in common,” Capt. John said. “They both were pioneers during the early days of privately-owned boat towing businesses. I learned so much from my granddad over the years. That’s where a great deal of my salvaging knowledge comes from. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for his help and support.”
After spending a decade in the Coast Guard, Capt. John purchased his first franchise, Sea Tow Destin, in 2004. Over the next decade, he would become a vital member of the Sea Tow network as he took over three additional franchises – Sea Tow Pensacola, Sea Tow Lake Norman/Lake Wylie and Sea Tow Kerr Lake/Lake Gaston in North Carolina.
During that time, Capt. John became a member of Sea Tow’s Disaster Response Team. Just three months into his ownership at the Destin franchise, Hurricane Ivan hit Florida – making his expertise vital to the area’s recovery efforts following the devastating storm.
Since then, Capt. John has been a key contributor in disaster recovery efforts following a myriad of big-name storms, such as Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Wilma, Ike and Gustav. Last year, he led efforts in Texas during Hurricane Harvey - until things got personal as Irma battered his grandfather’s home in Key Largo.
“Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to fully support the recovery efforts post-Irma like I would normally do following a big storm,” he said. “But I felt it was my responsibility to focus my energy on my grandfather’s house and, most importantly, to help my granddad get his life back in order. For a while, it was a battle just to get things livable again.”
As the 2018 hurricane season begins to hover overhead, Capt. John is ready for whatever mother nature might throw his way.
“I’ve been a part of the response teams after so many storms that we’re ready for just about anything,” he said. “Whether it’s helping other franchisees, lending a hand with the team at Sea Tow headquarters or providing support to the local boaters here in Florida, I’m here to help.”
Has Capt. John ever helped you or your family? Please share your experience in the comments below.