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  1. A Movie Crew... Pete Andrews 02-Jul-2011
  2. Finish Line at First Light Pete Andrews 29-Jun-2011
  3. Future Captain in Training Pete Andrews 07-Jun-2011
  4. Anchor Makes a New Friend Pete Andrews 28-May-2011
  5. Early Morning Boomers Pete Andrews 25-May-2011

My Jobs 2009

View My Cases 2009 in a larger map

My Jobs in 2008

Other Towboat Blogs


In the Wheelhouse

The (usually) not-so-thrilling adventures of a Safe/Sea Rescue Boat Captain.

Future Captain in Training

Pete Andrews - Tuesday, June 07, 2011

My 12 year old son Will came along as my deckhand this past Sunday, continuing his education as a future Safe/Sea Captain.

All Work & No Play...

Pete Andrews - Monday, August 24, 2009

Tuesday, August 11 presented me with an opportunity to combine work with some family fun. My son Will is a 1st year Opti racer in the Wickford Yacht Club sailing program, and was going to sail in his very first regatta that day (along with 5 teammates) at the Bristol Yacht Club.

As all my Rhode Island readers know, getting six optis from Wickford to Bristol by land is a royal pain in the you-know-where. As it turns out, Tuesday is usually the least busy day of the week for us at Safe/Sea, and I'm not technically on duty until noon, so I figured it would be fun to load up one of our 35 footers with the optis and arrive at the regatta by sea.

As you can see in the photo below, six optis was the perfect deck load for the Safe/Sea Newport, 3 on the foredeck and 3 on the aft deck.

It was a flat calm morning, and we saved at least 30 minutes of driving time and battling traffic. Once we arrived and offloaded, it was my plan to hang around and watch Will sail as much as possible, but be ready to depart whenever needed to do jobs. Here's some photos of the action (or lack thereof, since there was no more than 3 knots of wind all day.)

Will heading out to the Green Fleet course.

Will leads a pack of boats to the leeward mark, battling for 8th place.

Luck was with me that day, as I was able to stay for the entire regatta (until about 1600), reload the boats as soon as it was over, and return everything to Wickford without having to do a job. Below is Will on the Safe/Sea Newport's foredeck as we approach Wickford Yacht Club.

Of course, once the regatta was over and everyone headed home, I was still on duty the rest of the night. Shortly after dropping Will off at my folks' house, I was off to Point Judith to get a boater that had run out of fuel 13 nautical miles southeast of the point. I was up kinda late that night, but I did get this nice offshore sunset out of the deal.

Air Show Weekend Wrap-Up

Pete Andrews - Thursday, July 02, 2009

As just about every boater in Rhode Island knows, last weekend was air show weekend off Quonset. Normally, that mean lots of sunshine, southerly breezes and towing. However, the awful weather we've been having continues to put a damper on the onset of summer.

Last Friday was started off pretty well, as I got the job in the first picture at right around 1300. Willie was hanging around, so he hopped on the boat with me for a trip to Oakland Beach. We had to hurry a bit, as the customer had cut away his anchor to head in (as it was fouled) and then found himself broken down with a hook. Murphy demonstrates his law again! We got there with a few minutes to spare before the 23' Penn Yan was going to hit the beach. Later in the evening, I was sent back toward Greenwich Bay, but the customer restarted before I arrived.

Saturday turned out to be a pretty normal airshow day. Capt. Phil was on the Safe/Sea Titan with the Rhode Island Disaster Medical Assistance Team paramedics onboard, patrolling the spectator fleet to provide any needed emergency medical services, so he was out of the towing scene for the day. I went to Point Judith and was soon brought north to the bay for the 23' North Coast in the second picture at right, disabled just south of the Newport Bridge, going back to Clark Boat Yard.

Soon after I finished up at Clark, I was sent to the north side of the Air Show spectator fleet for the disabled 27' Bayliner in the third picture. She was headed back to Warwick Cove Marina. Before I could even finish that job, I had the 38' Chris Craft in the fourth picture waiting for me. He had broken his steering, which, as you can tell from the way he's towing behind me, was stuck a bit to starboard. He was just outside the entrance to Greenwich Cove, going back to Warwick Cove. After completing these two jobs, I was headed back to Point Judith to put away the Safe/Sea Point Judith for the night.

However, as soon as I returned to our office, I was underway again, this time in the Safe/Sea Salvor, to retreive a 25 Stingray off Hog Island Light. I was there in short order, and we headed for Pirate Cove Marina in the Tiverton Basin. Picture number four is us going under the Mt. Hope Bridge at about 20 knots or so.

On our way under the highway bridge at the north end of the basin, I snapped the final picture of the day; two moron tennage boys that had decided it would be fun to swim across the heavily trafficked nav channel that had about a 3 knot current running, and climb onto one of the nav aids. Some guy in a skiff retreived them, and the harbormaster presented them with a $150 ticket, I'm told. At least they didn't drown.

A Quiet Sunday with Silver Lining

Pete Andrews - Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sunday started with some pretty solid rain, basically killing any hope of a busy day, even though the rain stopped well before noon. I was the early captain, as usual on Sunday, and the only job I did all day came in around 1100. It was a 21' Boston Whaler Outrage that had just launched at the East Greenwich Ramp and was heading to her home dock in Greenwich Bay. She overheated shortly after getting underway, tied up at the EGYC fuel dock, and waited for me to arrive.

After a quick and uneventful tow across Greenwich Bay, she was secure and I hung around off Sandy Point for a few hours. Because there was so little activity going on and I had already done a job, I headed toward Wickford around 1430 to give my boat to Capt. Phil who was next up. I became the back-up and Pt. Judith captain for the duration of the day, which allowed me to watch my son Will wrap up his soccer season with a win over Cumberland. He scored twice, and as you can see by the grin, had a great time!

Willie's first real tow job

Pete Andrews - Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I remember the very first towing job that I did. It was 1984 and I was driving our first version of the Safe/Sea Rescue, named the Kropp 2, which was our only small yacht towboat at the time and identical to our current version. Our industry really wasn't even an industry then, and my dad and I just figured towing boats would be a fun way to spend some time in the summer and earn a few dollars. In fact, back in 1984, you didn't have to have a Captain's License to captain a marine assistance vessel.

Anyway, the very first boat I ever towed was the Cap'n Peach Fuzz, a 19 foot runabout that was disabled close to Castle Island at the entrance to Bristol Harbor. Safe/Sea didn't exist, and there was no such thing as towing coverage or memberships. At the time, the charges were $65 per hour, including travel time. Boy, have times changed.

Last Saturday, I took my 10 year old son Will on his very first tow job. He's been out on our towboats for many rides and seal-watching trips, but had never come along for a real job before.

We got a call around 0830 Saturday morning from the M/V Fishin' Pole, a 21 foot center console, that was disabled about a mile outside Wickford Harbor. The Fishin' Pole needed a quick pull back into Wickford's Wilson Park Launching Ramp. Will and I grabbed our PFD's, and off we went!

As you can see, Will drove out of the harbor, handing the helm back to me once we cleared the breakwater and went throttle-up. It was a beautiful morning, a bit hazy, but absolutely flat calm. The tow home was quick and uneventful, and we had the Fishin' Pole tied up at the Wilson Park Ramp by 0915. As an added bonus, we got another that morning, right off Pomham Rocks in the Providence River. We towed that customer to the Bold Point Ramp in East Providence.

Absolutely Nothing to do with Tax Day...

Pete Andrews - Wednesday, April 15, 2009

...Nor anything boating-related, really. I'm currently on my last vacation before the boat-driving begins in earnest for the 2009 season, so I thought you might be interested in what I'm doing with my family this spring. It's about as far from boating as you can get...caving!

I piled everyone in the car last weekend and drove 1056 miles to Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky to experience some of America's natural beauty. Believe it or not, Mammoth Cave is the world's longest known underground cave system, with over 350 miles of mapped caverns. We did the "Introduction to Caving" tour on Easter Sunday, which is a guided, off-trail 3 hour long trip into the bowels of Mammoth Cave that's designed to give visitors a taste of real caving. It's not for the claustrophobic, as you can't go on the tour if your chest measures over 44", for fear you'll get stuck in some of the narrower passages. The only light comes from the headlight worn on your helmet.

As you can see from the picture above, everyone had a great time, and I managed to not get stuck in "The Keyhole", the narrowest of the passages we traversed during our adventure. We all worked up a sweat and emerged from the cave covered in plenty of fine clay and a little mud from our crawl. The most fun was when our group popped out of a small tunnel that crossed the lighted tourist trail and surprised a group taking a more traditional guided tour. We sure got some funny looks!

Hopefully, I'll have some more vacation pictures for you this weekend! Next week, it's back to business.

First Boat Ride of 2009

Pete Andrews - Monday, March 23, 2009
Well, the boating itch finally got the better of me yesterday and had to be scratched. It was still pretty cold and generally grey, but a fine day for my first boat trip of 2009. On the way out of the harbor, we were treated to the sight of the North Kingstown High Sailing Team getting in some practice time in their 420's.

As many Rhode Islanders know, Narragansett Bay is home to a huge number of seals over the winter months, and seal watching is one of my family's favorite excuses for a weekend outing. Yesterday was a perfect day for it, so my wife and I loaded up our daughter Sarah (12) and son Will (10) for a quick trip out to Rome Point, just south of Wickford Harbor, to see how many of our blubbery friends we could spot.

We were not disappointed! The rocks just off Rome Point were loaded with what had to be over 50 seals. I don't have any pictures of them, as getting too close to a marine mammal is a considered harrassment (and, hence, a felony), but they were all over the place. There were huge grey adults and some juveniles that still sported their white baby fur. The beach at Rome Point was covered with other seal-watchers who made the short hike from Route 1A, where there's a parking lot maintained by the state. As you can see at right, high powered, electronically stabilized binoculars come in rather handy for seal watching.

If you get your boat in the water before the weather gets too warm and the seals depart, Rome Point isn't the only place to see them around the bay. Just about any tidally-exposed rock that's big enough is likely to host some, although Rome Point is usually a sure bet, as it's a great spot that can be accessed by land or sea. Just remember that it's illegal to get too close or harass the animals in any way, so bring your binoculars or a telescope.

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