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New Owners Take the Helm at TowBoatUS Port Canaveral

(L to R) Capt. Steven Holm, Kasee Holm, Capt. Sean Steinberg and four-legged crewmate Sunny.
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PORT CANAVERAL, Fla., April 7, 2016 – Some 20-plus years ago, Captains Sean Steinberg and Steven Holm’s passion for boating began when they met as 10-year-olds in a community sailing program in Cape Coral, Florida. They sailed extensively through high school and college and went on to professional careers on the water. In January they became owners, along with Steven’s wife, Kasee, TowBoatUS Port Canaveral, a 24-hour on-water towing and assistance service for recreational boaters.

“This is my dream job,” said Steinberg, who spent three years working as a captain for TowBoatUS Cape Coral on Florida’s west coast and 10 years serving in the US Coast Guard Reserve. “I love boating and I love helping other boaters. I did 853 tows and boater assists when I was at Cape Coral,” he recalled. Much like a reliable auto club for boaters, TowBoatUS offers an Unlimited Saltwater towing membership for boaters and anglers for just $149 a year that includes BoatUS membership. Without a towing plan, boaters face costs that average over $700 per incident nationally.

When Steinberg learned that the former owner of TowBoatUS Port Canaveral wanted to sell the business, he jumped at the chance to buy it, along with his friends, the Holms. Steinberg, who has held a USCG license for many years, runs the day-to-day on-the-water operations. Kasee Holm is in charge of administration and advertising, and Steven Holm, a graduate of the US Merchant Marine Academy with a USCG unlimited master license, assists on the towboats when he is available. He works full time as captain aboard a 1,200-passenger ship in Port Canaveral and is actively drilling as Lieutenant in the US Navy Reserve Strategic Sealift Readiness Group.  

Steinberg said he has been busy at TowBoatUS Port Canaveral from day one – New Year’s Day – assisting boaters who have lost steering, had an engine breakdown or a soft grounding. “The usual stuff,” he said. “The best thing is our fast response time. This is my full-time job, so I am ready to assist 24/7.” He lives aboard his 28-foot sailboat with his seven-year-old Jack Russell terrier, Sunny, at Harbortown Marina on Merritt Island just two docks away from one of the company’s two assist boats. “That means I can be underway in five to ten minutes,” he said. “Sunny always comes along. That dog has more sea time than most captains.”

The waters around Port Canaveral are crowded with oil tankers, freighters, fishing vessels, dinner boats, large cruise ships and all kinds of recreational watercraft, but everyone gets along, Steinberg said. Their service area includes the Indian and Banana Rivers, the Intracoastal Waterway, Port Canaveral Inlet and the Atlantic Ocean up to 25 miles.

TowBoatUS Port Canaveral operates two boats, one for the inland waters and the other for the ocean, which are separated by a lock. “We have two bodies of water, so we need two boats. The locks are not always open, and they take time to pass,” Steinberg said.

The boats, which are painted bright red with the TowBoatUS name and buoy logo emblazoned in white letters on the hull, are a 23-foot Sea Craft with twin 150-horespower outboards kept off the barge canal in Merritt Island, and a 28-foot Topaz with twin diesels based at the port. Both are fully rigged for towing and salvage, with powerful pumps, battery jump packs, dive gear and extra fuel.

TowBoatUS Port Canaveral can be reached by calling Steinberg at 321-783-5600 for new membership and renewals, as well as towing dispatch, local knowledge or even the marine weather forecast. The company also stands by for calls on VHF channel 16 or can be reached through the BoatUS toll-free 24/7 Dispatch Center at 800-391-4869 and via smartphone with the free BoatUS Towing App. More information can be found at BoatUS.com/towing or by calling 800-888-4869.

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About TowBoatUS:

Celebrating 50 years in 2016, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is the nation's leading advocate, services and safety group for recreational boaters. We provide our over half-million members with a wide array of helpful services, including 24-hour on water towing that gets you safely home when your boat won’t, will bring you fuel if you run out, jumpstart your dead battery, or provide a gentle pull after you’ve run aground. The TowBoatUS towing fleet is North America’s largest network of towing ports with over 300 locations and over 600 towing assistance vessels, responding to over 70,000 requests for assistance each year. For more information go to BoatUS.com/towing.