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The 31st C-PORT Conference and Membership Meeting was held on January 15- January 17, 2018 at the Wyndham Grand at Harbourside, Jupiter, FL.  

The conference kicked off with a Welcome Reception on Monday night.  Attendees and their guests enjoyed visiting colleagues and friends along the beautiful Inter-coastal Waterway.

Tuesday morning began early with “Fitness with Terry” at 6:00 AM.  We welcomed our exhibitors with a continental breakfast before our speakers took the stage.  Our U.S. Coast Guard partners, CAPT Christina Davidson, Chief, Office of Search and Rescue, CAPT Christopher Keane, Chief, Office of Shore Forces, USCG, and Mr. Jeffrey Wheeler, Deputy Chief, Office of Boat Forces briefed the audience on Hurricane response and FEMA approved boat and mariner typing.  

After a brief break, Mr. Steve Huttman, immediate-past chairman, TSAC (Towing Safety Advisory Committee), took the microphone and discussed the importance of record keeping, and doing so in a verifiable, reliable way.  Our featured exhibitors, West Marine Pro and Navico-Simrad, spent a few minutes explaining the newest innovations available to our operators before the lunch break.

Wednesday morning started with another “Fitness with Terry” session before a continental breakfast was served in our exhibitor area.  Mr. Adam Phillips, Starkweather & Shepley, gave an interactive insurance claims presentation encouraging the attendees to evaluate how much insurance coverage they need. He was followed by Mr. Andrew Craven, Esq. and Mr. Marcus Mahfood, Esq, The Chartwell Law Offices.  Our admiralty attorney speakers took the group through the different insurances available, including Jones Act exposure.  Captain Kent Dresser, Confident Captain/Ocean Pros, competed the morning with the latest risk management training module for marine assistance companies.  The course was aptly titled, “How to Make a Bad Decision” and is available online for those who were not able to attend his session. (See Accreditations Tab for our full risk management library).

Held on January 16 was the 31st C-PORT Membership Meeting.  Along with committee reports and industry issue discussions, the membership elected its 2018 C-PORT Board of Directors and the 2018 C-PORT Executive Board was named.  “It was a year of change,” commented Tina Cardone, executive director. Two board positions were vacant, one position was appointed and needed membership ratification, and one person was seeking re-election.  Elected to the board were:

John Donaldson, Sentinel Marine Services/Sea Tow Sebastian
Anthony Noury, Hawser LLC/Sea Tow Charleston
Richard Paul, Marine Towing & Salvage of SWFL/TowBoatU.S. Cape Coral
Harold “Smitty” Smith, Miller’s Towing & Salvage/TowBoatU.S. Sandy Hook

Announced was the 2018 C-PORT Executive Committee:  Chairman, John Ward, Aquanaut Towing & Salvage/Sea Tow Pensacola-Destin; Vice-chairman, Phil LeBlanc, Safe Sea/TowBoatU.S. Narragansett Bay; Treasurer, Jon Gridley, Lake Tow Inc./Sea Tow Clarks Hill Lake; Secretary, Dale Plummer, Baltimore Marine Recovery/TowBoatU.S. Baltimore-Annapolis.

The 2018 C-PORT board of directors is:  Robert Butler, Big Bay Marine/TowBoatU.S. San Diego; Phil Delano, Yachting Specialties/TowBoatU.S. San Francisco Bay and Delta; John Donaldson, Sentinel Marine Services/Sea Tow Sebastian; Terry Hill, Potomac Marine Inc./TowBoatU.S. Potomac; Anthony Noury, Hawser LLC/Sea Tow Charleston; Richard Paul, Marine Towing & Salvage of SWFL/TowBoatU.S. Cape Coral; Harold “Smitty” Smith, Miller’s Towing & Salvage/TowBoatU.S. Sandy Hook. (See About Tab for biographies of our board members.)

During the C-PORT Awards Luncheon, C-PORT membership anniversaries were honored with a number of members in attendance receiving recognition.  Receiving 15 year anniversary pins were Larry Tieman, American Marine Services/TowBoatU.S. Tampa Bay, and Paul Amaral, Channel Watch Marine/TowBoatU.S. Ventura.  Recognition for 20 years went to Terry Hill, Potomac Marine/TowBoatU.S. Potomac with 25 year anniversary pins to Cory Offutt, Biscayne Towing & Salvage/TowBoatU.S. Miami, Lee Sykes, Atlantic Coast Marine Group/TowBoatU.S. Beaufort, and Carlos Galindo, Poseidon Marine Towing/TowBoatU.S. Islamorada.  There was a special mention to Poseidon Marine Towing for maintaining the long standing membership founded by the McCune’s in 1993.  

Those anniversary members unable to attend the conference included:

10 Year Members:
Bruce Fendig–Sea Tow Brunswick; Fred Leger–TowBoatU.S. Lake Charles; Bob Harris TowBoatU.S. Lake Lewisville; Joe DiMartino–TowBoatU.S. Naples; Gregory Ewing-TowBoatU.S. Needles; Gary O’Reilly–Sea Tow Northern Chesapeake; and Roger Slade–TowBoatU.S. Port Hadlock

15 Year Members:
Kevin Freestone-TowBoatU.S. Big Pine Key

20 Year Member
Jeffrey Pullen-TowBoatU.S. Lake Washington

25 Year Members
Chris McCarthy-Sea Tow Newport/LA; and John Dady–TowBoatU.S. Jamaica Bay

C-PORT 30 year anniversary members were celebrated during the C-PORT Awards Banquet and Gala held that same evening.  Honored was Dan Cavaluzzi, Sound Tow-Pro Marine/TowBoatU.S. City Island.  Cavaluzzi joined C-PORT in 1988 and has remained an active, strong supporter of the industry.

Not present at the conference also celebrating 30 years of C-PORT membership were Don Schmidt, Michigan Marine Salvage; Chris Olmsted, Olmsted Marine Service; and Criquet Codeluppi, Cleveland Marine Towing/TowBoatU.S. Cleveland.  The association thanks these long standing members for their guidance and support through the years.

The AFRAS-C-PORT Lifesaving Award was presented to Captain Nathan Lins, Cat Tow Inc./TowBoatU.S. Catalina.  

C-PORT Distinguished Service and Meritorious Awards were presented to the following C-PORT members and their captains:

Captains Cody Catapano, Zachary Willis, and Raven Bolster, Sea Tow Crystal Coast
Captain Nathan Lins, TowBoatU.S. Catalina
Captain James Freeman, TowBoatU.S. Tampa Bay
Captain Chris Allen, Sea Tow Palm Beach
Captain Charles “London” Walker, TowBoatU.S. Cape Cod

The C-PORT Advocacy Award was presented to Greg Dreischmeyer, Cat Tow Inc./TowBoatU.S. Catalina, and Joe Frohnhoefer, Sea Tow International.

Read all of their stories here: AFRAS-C-PORT Lifesaving Award  C-PORT Distinguished Service and Meritorious Service Awards  C-PORT Advocacy Award