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News, press, tips and more can be found in the Sea Tow Blog. Have a suggestion for a story? Email us!

Capt. Joe Frohnhoefer, CEO and Founder of Sea Tow, Receives Major Boating Industry Honor

One of the boating industry’s most prestigious honors, each year the Chapman Award recognizes an individual or group that has provided consistent promotion and protection of the sport of boating and its benefits to both the recreational boating industry and the public. Established in 1976, when Outboard Marine Corporation (OMC) Chairman Ralph Evinrude was the honoree, the Chapman Award is presented annually at the Miami International Boat Show.

“NMMA is honored to recognize Joe for his extensive achievements in improving the boating experience for our nation’s 88 million boaters,” said NMMA President Thom Dammrich. “Joe’s passion for life on the water combined with his commitment to boater safety have helped shape how our industry serves boaters while they’re out on the water, creating a better boating experience from coast to coast.”

“It was an honor and a humbling experience to receive this major marine industry award,” said Capt. Joe, who thanked the NMMA, the industry, the staff of Sea Tow, and above all, his wife, Georgia, at the Awards presentation.

A lifelong resident of Long Island, New York’s North Fork, Joe Frohnhoefer is a U.S. Coast Guard-licensed Captain with a dedicated interest in serving the public. In 1965, he started Water Thrills Inc., a marine company offering Water Skiing instruction, Red Cross Swimming instruction, and sailboat and powerboat rentals. During this time, he also served as a volunteer emergency medical technician; firefighter, reaching the rank of Captain; an educator, and was president of the North Fork Lions Club and Mattituck Gun Club. In the late 70’s and early 80’s, he also became a Bay Constable for the local police. 

In 1982, a change in the United States Coast Guard (USCG) regulations led to the decision that the USCG would no longer tow in non-emergency situations. The opportunity to combine his life saving skills, commitment to public service, entrepreneurial spirit and love of the water was the inspiration for Frohnhoefer to found Sea Tow Services International Inc. in 1983.

Continuing his goal of giving back to the boating public, Capt. Joe founded the Sea Tow Foundation in 2007 with the goal of providing tools and education to reduce the number of accidents and fatalities on the water. To date the Sea Tow Foundation has provided over 20,000 life jackets to the boating public via its Life Jacket Loaner program. Today, you can still find Captain Joe towing boats in the waters of Long Island Sound, Peconic Bay and off the coast of Montauk.

About Sea Tow
Sea Tow Services International Inc. is the nation's leading on-water assistance provider for boaters. Established in 1983 by Founder & CEO Capt. Joe Frohnhoefer, Sea Tow serves members inland to the coast throughout the United States, Europe, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. For a full list of membership benefits, how to become a Sea Tow member or to inquire about becoming a Sea Tow franchise owner, please visit Sea Tow also offers free boating safety information including the Sea Tow App for smartphones, Sea Tow's Automated Radio Check Service, and the nonprofit Sea Tow Foundation's Life Jacket Loaner Station program. For more information, visit and


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