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Sea Tow’s Merritt celebrates 15 years at the helm

If you’re ever in need of assistance in Southern Maryland, whether it be by road or by sea, there’s only one man to call — Capt. Bill Merritt.

Merritt has been in the towing industry for nearly four decades. Over the last 15 years, he has been serving boaters throughout Chesapeake Bay and other nearby waterways as owner and head captain at Sea Tow Southern Maryland — a locally owned, on-water assistance franchise based in Ridge providing tows, jump starts, fuel deliveries and more to area boaters. The local business is celebrating its 15th anniversary this month.

“I’ve always been in the business of helping people,” Merritt said in a release. That commitment is what first drew him to Sea Tow’s distinctive yellow fleet. “When the opportunity to own my own Sea Tow franchise came up, it just made too much sense,” he said. “I had to jump on it.”

He and his crew are available 24/7/365 to provide on-water assistance. Just as his boats are, his fleet of trucks is on call and ready to help whenever a driver is stuck on the side of the road. He has owned and operated a AAA-licensed towing business, providing roadside assistance throughout the Southern Maryland for more than 35-years.

Naturally, the transition from tow truck operator to tow boat captain came with its own unique set of challenges, but Merritt’s dedication to top-notch customer service and worry-free peace of mind has set up the Southern Maryland franchise for years of success.

“Towing cars and towing boats are two different beasts,” Merritt said. “But at the heart of it, is treating each client and their vehicle or vessel with the respect and care they deserve. It doesn’t matter if you drive a car, truck, or a boat, getting stuck is a stressful, and can even be a scary, situation. It’s my job to relieve that stress and get you back to where you need to be.” While many things may have changed over the course of the past 15 years, one thing has remained constant … and that is Merritt and his Sea Tow crew are always standing by to help boaters of Southern Maryland when they need it most.

Sea Tow Services International Inc., better known as Sea Tow, is “Your Road Service at Sea,” according to the release. Since 1983, Sea Tow has been the innovative leader of on-water assistance, servicing the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Members are provided with a 24/7 direct connection with Coast Guard-licensed captains should they need help. The pioneering concept, founded by Capt. Joseph Frohnhoefer, was established in Southold, N.Y., when the U.S. Coast Guard ceased response to non-emergency assistance calls.

In addition to on-water assistance, the network handles salvage and recovery, and responds to natural disasters, environmental hazards and oil spill cleanups. Sea Tow also promotes boating safety as does the 501(c)(3) organization, the Sea Tow Foundation, and its members save on boat insurance through Sea Insure. Visit to learn more.

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