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Southold sea-rescue service makes fast-growth list

Sea Tow International, with three-year growth of 9

Sea Tow International, with three-year growth of 9 percent, is on Inc. magazine's 2011 list -- it's No. 4802 on the magazine's list of 5,000 qualifying companies. Photo Credit: Sea Tow International

Sea Tow International, a franchise-based marine rescue service founded in Southold nearly 30 years ago, has made it onto a business magazine's list of fast-growing companies.

With three-year growth of 9 percent, Sea Tow is on Inc. magazine's 2011 list -- it's No. 4802 on the magazine's list of 5,000 qualifying companies.

Sea Tow has more than 120 franchisees in the United States, Australia, Europe and the Caribbean.

Its business model is described as a franchise system of "membership-based marine assistance services to power boaters, sailors, fishermen, recreational boaters, and professional mariners."

Newsday has followed Sea Tow's local rescues since the 1980s, including the August 1996 response to the crash of TWA Flight 800, when Steve Dalder, owner of a Sea Tow franchise in East Quogue, was one of the first on the scene about 14 miles off Moriches Inlet. "The first thing I saw for miles around was water on fire," Dalder told Newsday. "There were pretty big chunks of everything floating around . . . The victims were everywhere when I got there."

More recently, in June 2010, a Sea Tow boat was called in to retrieve a seaplane that partially sank in Little Peconic Bay after it landed, then had one of its float pontoons strike a submerged rock and fill with water as it taxied.

Newsday profiles of the company over the years include Marine-services company gears up to offer high-tech tracking and communications, in 2006; Towing service rides the waves, in 2005; and At the push of a button; Sea Tow introducing new technology to help track boaters, in 2002. 

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