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About Rescue Marine

Our History

Rescue Marine is a new name for three towing and salvage firms on Lake Erie with a rich history. Boater's Emergency Service, Marine Towing - Safe Hook, and West Harbor Towing are now working together as one crew to serve our family of prepaid towing members.

Boater's Emergency Service was originally founded as Shrock's Towing and Salvage in 1965. Captain Neil Shrock had recently purchased the Tug "Theresa" and converted her for work as a salvage tug. In the late sixties recreational boating was just beginning to build in popularity and the United States Coast Guard offered free towing to recreational boaters. Captain Shrock kept busy with one Tug primarily performing salvage operations between Lorain and Toledo, Ohio. As recreational boating in the Western Basin of Lake Erie gained popularity there were more disabled boats requiring towing assistance. In 1972 Captain Shrock founded Boater's Emergency Service, a the first recreational vessel prepaid towing plan in the nation. The first 200 members in 1972 signed-up for three free tows for an annual fee of $15.

Through the late 1970's and early 1980's boating continued to increase in popularity and more boaters were joining Boater's Emergency Service each season. In 1980 the "Ann Marie" construction was completed and she was christened as the first commercial high-speed towing and salvage vessel on Lake Erie.

With the increased boating and growth within the fledgling commercial towing and salvage industry tensions mounted between towers and local Coast Guard Stations. Captain Shrock joined other towers on the Atlantic Ocean and helped to found C-PORT the trade association for recreational vessel towing and salvage firms in the United States of America. Through the early 1980's C-PORT negotiated with the United States Coast Guard and lobbied United States Congress to make legislation that still governs the relationship between the towing and salvage industry and the United States Coast Guard.

In 1984 construction of the "Charlotte Marie" was completed and she entered service as a towing and salvage vessel capable of safely completing a multitude of mission types. Not only does she cruise at speeds reaching seventeen knots, the "Charlotte Marie" can safely navigate through seas reaching fourteen feet in height and she can break up to six inches of ice. Following the "Charlotte Marie" the "Donna Marie" was partially built by Duffy and Duffy and completed by Captain Shrock in 1990. The "Donna Marie" was replaced by the 26' Almar Rigid Inflatable Vessel "Towboat" in 1997. Captain Shrock and his wife Charlotte entered semi-retirement in 2001 when Captain Jacob "Jake" Dunfee bought Boater's Emergency Service.

By the mid 1980's Captain John Moore had acquired three steel work boats and founded Marine Towing, Inc. with the Tugs "Reliance" and "Retriever" and the towboat "Ranger". Marine Towing, Inc. also offered prepaid towing memberships. During the 1980's Marine Towing operated vessels out of Knecht's Beach on Sand Road and Anchor's Away Marina in West Harbor. Captain Moore owned Marine Towing, Inc. until 1990 when Captain Terry Ervin bought the business. Terry and his wife Judy were very active with C-PORT and expanded the business a great deal. In the early 1990's the 26' Shamrock "Respond" was purchased and proved to be an important addition to the fleet. The steel "Ranger" was replaced with a 1989 25' Boston Whaler Frontier also. This upgrade to the fleet not only increased our speed and decreased response times, but it also allowed easier navigation of shallow areas. The Marine Towing fleet was also expanded with the acquisition of the "Racer" from Cleveland Marine Towing. In 1999 Terry and Judy sold Marine Towing - Safe Hook to Stewart Brand of Brand's Marina in Port Clinton, Ohio. Captain Brand operated through 2004 when his commitments to the marina encouraged him to devote all of his time to the family business and Marine Towing - Safe Hook was sold to Captain Jake Dunfee.

At the same time Captain Moore founded Marine Towing, Captain Art Richter founded West Harbor Towing after many years of serving the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. He and his wife Ellen are both from Rocky River, Ohio and started towing with their steel work boat "Red Baron". As their prepaid towing membership and business grew they added the "Ellen Marie" a 25' Sisu to their fleet. Through the 1990's to 2005 the "West Harbor" was an Inland Seas that aided many disabled boaters. Around 2000 the "Red Baron" was upgraded to a newer 28' Inland Seas. Art and Ellen decided it was time to retire during the 2005 boating season and sold their business to Captain Jake Dunfee on October 15, 2005. They now have ample time to visit their many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Rescue Marine was formed to help bring all three companies, fleets, crew, and members together. Our base of operations is our Membership Services and Dispatch Center located in front of Bomba's Fish Cleaning at 8640 E North Shore Blvd in Marblehead, Ohio. Our marine base of operations is Shrock's Marina. We also operate towing and salvage vessels out of Anchor's Away in West Harbor and Lakefront Marina in Port Clinton, Ohio.

TowBoat US
Port Clinton & Catawba Island

Rescue Marine is also happy to serve TowBoat U.S. members who need any towing or salvage assistance anywhere between Marblehead and Locust Point in Lake Erie. Our fleet of five boats is ready to respond from any of our three ports on a moments notice.

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