For the past decade and a half, boaters in both Boston’s South Shore and all along Ocean Isle and Myrtle Beach in the Carolinas have had a constant feeling of calm and stability when it comes to the men and women patrolling their local waters.
In 2004, big things were happening within the Sea Tow network. That year, five franchises saw new owners that are still steadfast at the helm today, including, Capt. Ethan Maass at Sea Tow South Shore and Capt. Clay and Heather Hughes at Sea Tow Ocean Isle.
Even though spending 15 years at the helm of these two franchises is evidence enough of their passion for helping their fellow boaters, all three have spent time on the water for their whole lives.
According to Capt. Ethan, a career as a Sea Tow captain was something he’s always had in the back of his mind, and now that he has more than a dozen years under his belt, he said that looking back, it was always meant to be.
“I grew up sailing on Eastern Long Island and used to see Sea Tow boats out on the water working all the time,” he said. “I’ve always had the response mentality. In high school, I volunteered for the local ambulance service and then enlisted in the Coast Guard, so becoming a Sea Tow captain was a match made in heaven.”
A similar sentiment can be heard from Capt. Clay, whose experience manning distinctive yellow boats goes beyond his 15 years in charge of Sea Tow Ocean Isle.
“I started with Capt. Chris Willis at Sea Tow Wrightsville Beach in 1991,” he said. “That was my part-time job in college. As time went on, I began to take on more responsibility and even though I was working full-time in banking, I eventually bought my own boat and made the Ocean Isle area my own.”
Both franchises have seen tremendous growth under the leadership of these three men and women. In the past 15 years, their combined record of success and community involvement are nearly unmatched.
Capt. Ethan has been heavily involved in the marine industry, not only in Massachusetts, but across the country, serving as a board member for C-PORT – the towing industry’s premier trade organization – as well as winning numerous awards along the way, including the coveted “Franchise of the Year” award at the Sea Tow annual meeting in 2011.
Capt. Clay and Heather have also hauled in their fair share of hardware. Over the years, they have won numerous awards for their lifesaving efforts throughout their service area, including saving the lives of a family of four two summers ago. The husband-and-wife team are also heavily involved within their local community, sponsoring various charity events and even taking veterans and sick children out fishing. Two years ago, they expanded their footprint throughout the Carolinas after buying Sea Tow Myrtle Beach and, last year, purchased a brand-new, four-acre headquarters to house their bustling base of operations.
“Ethan, Clay and Heather are fantastic ambassadors of Sea Tow on both the local and national levels,” Sea Tow CEO Capt. Joseph Frohnhoefer III said. “Their commitment to helping others and to the boating industry as a whole is remarkable. We’re grateful to have them as part of our team.”