TowBoatUS to the Rescue

January 18, 2016

Captains with the nation’s largest fleet of towboats for recreational boaters spend a lot of time on the water. As they routinely respond to boats with dead batteries, broken motors or running aground incidents – over 70,000 such requests for assistance annually – eventually they’re bound to run into real danger. In 2015, five captains that serve TowBoatUS towing locations in FL, TX, MD and CT found deep trouble, acted without hesitation and saved lives. These Good Samaritans were recently selected by their peers and honored at a ceremony held at the annual BoatUS Towing Services conference in Jupiter, FL.

Meritorious Service Award: Capt. Sam Benson, TowBoatUS Annapolis/Baltimore/Middle River

Early one Sunday afternoon in July of 2105, Captain Sam Benson of TowBoatUS Annapolis was delivering fuel to a boater when a Coast Guard “pan-pan” was broadcast on the VHF radio after a motorist on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge had noticed an overturned vessel in the water below.

Without hesitation, Capt. Benson quickly turned around and sped to the scene of the reported sinking vessel. Six minutes later he found six family members had been thrown into the water when their small powerboat overturned. Three of the boat’s occupants were able to swim to the safety of the rocks around the base of a Bay Bridge pillar.

However, three others, who were not wearing life jackets, were being swept away from the bridge. Benson expertly maneuvered to their aid and safely brought all three aboard. They were soon transferred to a Maryland Natural Resources Police vessel and all survived. Sandy Point State Park is Maryland’s largest public boating area. It’s 22 boat ramps make it a hub of activity for trailerable boats. The summer of 2015 was marked with an especially high number of boating accidents that involved small vessels overloaded with people not wearing life jackets. Many of these incidents included fatalities. Thanks to Captain Sam, this story has a happy ending. We are very proud of Captain Sam and all of our Captains for the good work that they do each and every day.

Captain Sam Benson of TowBoatUS Annapolis