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
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
"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
The successful execution of this
year's conference officially launches the season for Vessel Assist and their
nationwide fleet of towboats.