National Responders Prepare For A Busy Season and Honor Their Own

        Alexandria, VA - Vessel Assist Association of America (VAAA) recently hosted their Annual Tower's Conference. Responders hailing from the Washington, California, North Atlantic, Chesapeake Bay and Florida assembled to learn more about the towing and marketing developments taking place in the commercial towing industry. These Primary towing responders, who make up the growing fleet of Vessel Assist rescue boats across the nation, were introduced to the latest VAAA features in computerized support, partnership and local marketing programs and business building techniques.
        "As independent contractors, all of our responders have the capability of sharing in the accelerated growth of Vessel Assist," said David La Montagne, President of VAAA. "At our annual conference, each responder is armed with valuable information, which is designed to grow and enhance their businesses in conjunction with the growth of VAAA.
        An awards dinner topped off the activities, in which the highlight of the evening was the presentation of the The Woody Pollack Memorial Award, commemorating the life of VAAA Captain Dave "Woody" Pollack, who died in 1994. This award is given yearly to " The VAAA Captain who demonstrates courage and the will to succeed above and beyond the call of duty."
        The award for the year 2001 honored Captain John Aydelotte, Marine Services and Assist, VESSEL ASSIST WHIDBEY. Captain Aydelotte teamed up with Vessel Assist in 1985. He maintains a boat building/ boat repair, towing and salvage business in Cornet Bay, Deception Pass, WA where he has been a resident for the last 24 years.
        Captain Aydelotte has been honored in the past, as the recipient of Coast Guard and WA State Patrol Life Saving Awards. He was honored by VAAA for a number of achievements in the year 2001, most notably his quick reaction in averting an environmental disaster.
        "I received a frantic call that a power vessel was on fire in Cornet Bay," remarked Captain "Sinbad" Aydelotte. "Within two minutes, we were on scene, pumping 200 gallons of salt water a minute onto the flames. With so much water going into the vessel, it was apparent that it would sink within minutes, causing an ecological clean-up nightmare. We immediately set up communications with the authorities and went through a series of complicated maneuvers to save the family cat, as it clung to the swim step, extinguished the fire, and towed the damaged vessel to the beach."
        Captain Aydelotte possesses the same philosophy shared by many VAAA towing responders: "What's best for the boater is best for the business. Our goal is to make boating better."
        The successful execution of this year's conference officially launches the season for Vessel Assist and their nationwide fleet of towboats.