John M. Redler

TowBoatUS Captain, 1974-2012

Jack and John RedlerBoatUS is deeply saddened to report the loss of Capt. John M. Redler, a TowBoatUS captain based in Marion, Massachusetts. He leaves behind his wife, Juli Collins-Thompson, and their 10-month old son, John Dereck Aubrey Redler, along with his mother, Judy M. Redler, and brother Nicholas Redler.

Capt. Redler had been around boats for almost his entire life, and loved it. From sailing camp, to doing crew in college, to sailing in his adult years on Long Island Sound, he was an avid mariner, and PADI-certified diver.

“John’s death has left a significant void in our families’ lives,” says his wife Juli. “John and I met in August 2007 in New York City. It was his love of sailing that inspired me to learn how to sail. He’d always dreamed of living on the water and sailing the world. So we went to sailing school together for one week in the British Virgin Islands in April 2008 and obtained our Blue Water Sailing certification.

We were engaged in October 2008 with the best marriage proposal a girl could ask for,” she remembers. “John ‘kidnapped’ me from work one day and surprised me with a trip to the BVI where he chartered and captained a 42-foot sailboat for a week. He proposed to me the third evening of our trip, on one knee, on the back deck of the floating barge restaurant called Willy T’s.

“When the financial crisis hit, we left New York in 2009 to pursue our sailing dream. We bought an older 47-foot sailboat that we fixed up and renamed Lucky Escape, and set sail in 2009 from Florida, heading as far north as Maine, taking a small break in New Hampshire to get married on May 30th, 2009. Then we headed south to the Caribbean until July 2010. We lived and sailed for two years on Lucky Escape, conquering boat repairs and bad weather. Our longest passage was a nine-day offshore trip from Jacksonville, Florida, to Puerto Rico where we ran into bad weather on day six, and encountered 20- to 30-knot winds and 20-foot seas. I’ll never, ever forget those two amazing years on the water with John.”

John Redler’s life was busy as a new father, and he also enjoyed working outdoors, making his own beer and wine at home, and learning all he could about starting a new business. After obtaining his Captain’s license in 2010 and then his towing endorsement, he worked in the summer of 2011 fine-tuning his skills with TowBoatUS Cape Cod. Always striving to be the Captain of his own towboat, this past winter he bought the 29-foot powerboat Triple J, became a full-time subcontractor for TowBoatUS Cape Cod in 2012, and started working on Buzzards Bay/Cape Cod. Through his outgoing personality, Capt. Redler quickly became well known in the Wareham/Marion, Massachusetts communities, and was known to go out of his way for his towing clients. One particular story that embodies John’s generosity and dedication, Juli remembers well:

“One time, John and his towing partner picked up a transient sailboat that had engine trouble near the Cape Cod Canal, and they towed the vessel back to Onset, Massachusetts. That sailing crew had just completed a multi-day sailing trip and were cold, wet, tired, and hungry. John invited them to come to our house in Onset for showers and to warm up. He later picked them up and took them to the local Italian pizza parlor for dinner, then dropped them off at their boat after the meal was finished.”

Another time, on April 22nd, 2012 Captain Redler heard a distress call from a 20-foot fishing boat that was taking on water with two persons on board. Although the Coast Guard launched a rescue boat and a helicopter, they also asked local Harbormasters to assist in the search. The weather was terrible that night — with gale-force winds, but John felt he had to assist. At his own expense, he and his fellow captain, Ron Souza, went out in Triple J to help the Coast Guard search for the two men, risking their lives and John’s boat. They arrived on the scene just as the Coast Guard located the vessel and the two individuals, who’d fallen overboard and were clinging to the overturned boat.

“John was so proud to work for TowBoatUS and be part of their team,” says Juli. “He wore his red TowBoatUS gear proudly around town and whenever he returned home from an assist. He loved being a towboat Captain, and working on the water.”



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Posted By: Captain Michael Block on
My Sincerest Condolences to the family of Captain John Redler, having just learned about this terrible tragedy in this months issue of Boat U.S. magazine. I did not know Captain Redler, but as a fellow towboat captain with Boat U.S. / Vessel Assist Puget Sound. I can only imagine the heart ache his family must be feeling after this incident. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and all who knew him. To all my fellow Captains we all know to well the joy and the peril of working on the water and assisting those in need. Be safe out there my brothers and sisters. Captain Michael
Posted By: Al Garrity on
To the family of Capt.Redler,I did not know the Capt.personally,but living in Onset and frequently operate in the waters he patrolled,I took a serious interest in this tragedy.Never learned the details of the Captains mishap,having to rely on local media accounts,but as a mariner I have tremendous respect for the services he provided in risking himself to keep us safe.He will be sadly missed by all the mariners that depended on his bravery when things got tough.My heartfelt condolences to his family and friends,Rest in Peace Captain Redler