August 14, 2019

SEA TOW KEY LARGO/Contributed
Cheryl and Steve Powers, owners of Sea Tow Key Largo, attend the Aug. 6 National Night Out event at Key Largo Community Park.  In addition to spreading the word about their firm's services, they urge boaters to sign a pledge to designate a 'Sober Skipper' on every trip.

SEA TOW KEY LARGO/Contributed Cheryl and Steve Powers, owners of Sea Tow Key Largo, attend the Aug. 6 National Night Out event at Key Largo Community Park.  In addition to spreading the word about their firm's services, they urge boaters to sign a pledge to designate a 'Sober Skipper' on every trip.

KEY LARGO — Keeping boaters safe at sea might start with putting a name on a dotted line, says Cheryl Powers of Sea Tow Key Largo.

“Any time we do a show or community event, we always work to sign up boat owners to either be a ‘Sober Skipper’ or who will designate an operator who doesn’t drink alcohol while on the water,” Powers said.

SEA TOW KEY LARGO/Contributed
Cheryl Powers of Sea Tow Key Largo distributes promotional items that help persuade boaters to sign a pledge to designate a ‘Sober Skipper’ on every trip. More than 75 people signed at the Aug. 6 National Night Out event at Key Largo Community Park.

More than 75 people of legal drinking age signed the Sober Skipper pledge during National Night Out on Aug. 6 at Key Largo Community Park.

In return, the boaters received a floating key chain or other promotional items provided by the Sea Tow Foundation.

“The National Night Out was a perfect tie-in for this,” Powers said of the relaxed event that gives residents a chance to mingle informally with law enforcement officers. “Just about everybody there at our beautiful park had their children with them. It’s our goal to help keep those precious children safe.”

Boating under the influence often emerges as the leading cause of fatal boating accidents in annual reports from the U.S. Coast Guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. About a third of all boating accidents typically can be linked to alcohol.

“Effects of alcohol when boating are often more dramatic than they might be back ashore,” Gail R. Kulp, executive director of the Sea Tow Foundation, said in a statement. “Sun, wind, noise and constant motion can lead to lowering your coordination much faster than it would on land. It may only take one drink for disorientation to set in.”

Sea Tow, a commercial marine-assistance service, has four Sea Tow franchises in the Florida Keys and about 100 nationally. Sea Tow Key Largo, owned and operated for 11 years by Steve and Cheryl Powers, was named Sea Tow’s 2018 Franchise of the Year.

“Just about any kind of fishing or boating event, we’ll try to have our tent there and have something for the kids. We probably do five or six events a year,” Powers said. “We’ve got the Key Largo Rotary’s Take Stock in Children Backcountry Challenge coming up in September.

“It’s an opportunity to show that we’re locally owned, a mom-and-pop business that tries to help our community as best we can. Our certified captains are standing there in our booth, happy to talk to people about the best ways to stay safe on the water.”

For more information on the Sober Skipper program, see the Sea Tow Foundation website at soberskipper.com.

To contact Sea Tow Key Largo, visit seatow.com/keylargo or call 305-451-3330.

kwadlow@keysnews.com