Sea Tow Rhode Island’s Father’s Day Gift

Captain Hal Records from Sea Tow and the happy family. Photo/Sea Tow Rhode Island.

Capt. Kevin Scott of Sea Tow Rhode Island sent this report of an incident that happened in Narragansett Bay over the June 16-17 weekend. He calls it “A Father’s Day Gift.”


Here in Rhode Island, the annual Rhode Island Air Show at Quonset Point draws boaters from all parts of the state. Aboard the smallest skiffs to high-end sport fishers, people gather in Narragansett Bay to watch the planes perform, and this past weekend had great weather to suit the event.

Noticing the older of the 2 boys was not wearing a lifejacket,
he fitted him with one of the Sea Tow Foundation lifejackets kept on his vessel.

The crew of Sea Tow Rhode Island is always on high alert during this event, because many boats are in one place, and some boats are bound to encounter mechanical problems. Troubles range from simple dead batteries, which require jumpstarts, to life-threatening boat fires and sinking boats. This past weekend provided a whirlwind of service calls, which was anticipated and is on par for an event of this magnitude.

Early Sunday morning we received a phone call from a boater who was clearly panicked and needed help fast. Working quickly, Sea Tow Rhode Island was able to get just enough information from the caller to estimate his location and the fact he was taking on water rapidly. Sea Tow Rhode Island’s Captain Hal Records was dispatched with lighting speed to the Davisville car-carry pier off Quonset, where he located the sinking vessel. While Capt. Hal was en route, the Coast Guard—now made aware of the stricken vessel—dispatched their assets as well.

Arriving on scene, Capt. Hal made a fast assessment of the situation. There were 4 people aboard the 18’ runabout, including 2 boys around the ages of 10 and 12. Capt. Hal maneuvered his Sea Tow boat in close and removed the boys from the runabout. Noticing the older of the 2 boys was not wearing a lifejacket, he fitted him with one of the Sea Tow Foundation lifejackets kept on his vessel.

Even though the runabout’s bilge pump was working full blast and the 2 adult crewmembers were bailing with a bucket, they were not able to keep up with the flooding. With the help of Kyle Scott, a young man who crews for Sea Tow and who one day hopes to get his captain’s license, the Sea Tow crew took the runabout in tow. This forced water out of the boat and prevented additional water from entering. In short order, the vessel was brought to a nearby boat ramp and placed on the trailer.

Turns out that the culprit (the source of the flooding) was a torn outdrive boot—a common problem with older inboard/outboard drive boats. The incident serves as a reminder that outdrive seals and boots should be inspected every season, as well as periodically during the season.

This Father’s Day remained a happy one for 2 young men and their dad, and for Sea Tow Rhode Island, which prevented the loss of a boat. At times like this failure is not an option and at Sea Tow Rhode Island take pride in doing our part to help keep mariners safe while they are boating on our beautiful Rhode Island waters.

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