For some of us, boating is a hobby – a great way to escape the stresses of everyday life and get out on the water for some nice, relaxing fun with friends and family. For others, it’s a way of life. In no one is that more evident than Bart, Jeff and Alex White – co-owners of Sea Tow Lower Chesapeake, which serves Virginia boaters throughout the lower Chesapeake Bay from their home base in Seaford, VA.
For the Whites, saltwater and boat fuel runs through their veins. Bart and Jeff are fourth-generation licensed boat captains, so boating is in their blood – always has been and always will be. That’s why becoming Sea Tow captains 15 years ago was almost meant to be.
Since first taking over from the previous ownership in April of 2004, life at Sea Tow Lower Chesapeake has been a true family affair. Alex and his two sons – Bart and Jeff – run the business with teamwork and camaraderie at the forefront, with all three having a hand in the day-to-day operations. Even at 77-years-old, Alex is out on the water, towing boats just about every day.
Even their mother, Joan, helps out with the phones and mans the radio from time to time, albeit somewhat begrudgingly – Alex and their two sons “are so into the business, they drive her up the wall,” Bart jokes.
To get an idea of just how passionate the Whites are when it comes to boating, Alex is out on the Chesapeake every other day pulling 50 crab pots on top of their regular Sea Tow business, and he does it in a skiff without a pot puller or any other sort of assistance.
“Our dad’s our hero, that’s for sure,” Bart said. “He’s a machine out there. He doesn’t need to do all this, but he loves the action. I’ve never seen someone so excited every time the phone rings.”
In fact, Alex just renewed his captains license. The senior captain has no intention of slowing down any time soon, and it shows.
That passion for their life on the water trickles down into the younger Whites, too. In addition to Sea Tow, Bart has been a yacht broker for over six years. His brother, Jeff, works every day at the Seaford Scallop Company.
Even when the two were young boys, they were always taking the boat out on the local creeks every day until dusk; and even after all these years out on the water together, according to Bart, “it’s always a new adventure.”
No matter how you frame it, for the Whites, it’s all about two things – boating and family – and after spending just a few minutes with them, it’s obvious that they wouldn’t have it any other way.
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