Sea Tow Services International Inc., the world's leading professional marine assistance organization, honored Capt. Andrew Haupt during its 2011 Annual Meeting for franchisees in Fort Myers in November. Haupt, who grew up in Southold, N.Y., learned his boating skills and love for the sea in Long Island waters. A former U.S. Coast Guardsman, he is employed as a professional Sea Tow captain by Sea Tow Fort Myers (based in Cape Coral).
Haupt received two awards for "Efforts Above and Beyond" at Sea Tow's Awards Ceremony, held at the Marriott Sanibel Harbour Resort on Nov. 17. Rear Admiral William Baumgartner, U.S. Coast Guard 7th District Commander; Capt. David McBride, U.S. Coast Guard Chief of Search of Rescue; and Capt. Sherri Dickinson, commander, U.S. Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg, joined Sea Tow Founder and CEO Capt. Joe Frohnhoefer and Chief Operations Officer Capt. Joseph Frohnhoefer III in recognizing Haupt and eight other Sea Tow captains for saving the lives and property of boaters in perilous situations in 2011.
"I just did whatever any other captain would do in the same situations," Haupt said.
The captain was cited "For Efforts Above and Beyond" in his performance of duties on Sept. 5 while under way near Big Carlos Bridge and Bonita Beach Causeway in Fort Myers. He saw three women in an out-of-control rental boat about to collide with the bridge fenders. The boat struck the bridge just as one of the passengers stuck out her legs in an attempt to slow it down, and her left leg was caught between the fender and the boat. Haupt responded to their calls for help and tied up to the damaged boat. He assessed the woman's leg injury and stabilized her, but realized he could not safely transfer her to his Sea Tow boat. He called the Coast Guard and requested emergency medical services to be dispatched to the nearby Fishtale Marina. Haupt anchored his boat and drove the victim's boat to the marina and a waiting ambulance. Quick thinking and immediate response to the crisis no doubt ensured the victim's leg was saved.
Haupt and Dispatcher Heather Fabrizzi of Sea Tow Fort Myers also were cited "For Efforts Above and Beyond" for their response on Feb. 13. That morning, they overheard a call to the Coast Guard Station in Fort Myers Beach about a boat fire in the vicinity of light #13 in San Carlos Bay. Fabrizzi briefed and dispatched Haupt, who was less than a mile away from the fire. He was on scene in 10 minutes, and saw a 45-foot boat with smoke coming from the cabin and two people on board. Relying on his past Coast Guard coxswain and damage control training, Haupt promptly came alongside the vessel and evacuated the two people onto his Sea Tow boat. Armed with two B1 fire extinguishers, he went aboard the vessel, secured the generator and power to the boat and put out an electrical fire.
Sea Tow serves over 160,000 members in locations throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. For a full list of membership benefits, or to inquire about becoming a Sea Tow franchisee, visit www.seatow.com.