This year, Sea Tow celebrates its 30th Anniversary and Ryan Pratt, owner of a Sea Tow franchise in Jensen Beach, FL, took part in a very special project that underscores Willard Marine’s reputation for long-lasting durability and performance. Recently, Ryan purchased a 1995 refurbished 7-meter Willard RIB from a government auction with a vision of customizing it to suit his unique business needs. Ryan's ambitious project caught the eye of Boating Magazine, which did a feature on the RIB and all the modifications made to the vessel. We caught up with Ryan to learn a bit more about who he is, his work, and why he selected a 19-year-old Willard Marine vessel to modify and create what he calls his “ultimate rescue boat.”
“This is the Sea Lion. We’re sinking. Men in the water. Water in the wheelhouse. This is our last transmission. We’re going down!”
Three weeks ago, Bjoern Kils was leaving the dock off the southwest shore of Long Island, N.Y. when he heard those distressed words. Kils is the owner and operator of NYmediaBoat.com, a business that runs boats out of Liberty Landing Marina for sightseeing, photoshoots, and other related business. At the time he heard this desperate mayday call over the radio, Kils was able to make an astonishing rescue while driving his 26-foot Willard Marine RIB.
Back in the early 1980s, the United States Coast Guard (USCG) introduced a new line of rescue boats, the first being built by Willard Marine, Inc. in 1983. This boat was named the Surf Rescue Boat. At the time, the boat’s design, which was self-righting and self-bailing, proved markedly different than typical lifeboats used by the USCG. The boat was designed to perform search and rescue in adverse weather and surf, much of the design being centered around speed. While top speed was 31 knots (57 km/h), most of the hulls dealt with minor water intrusion that slowed the boats to approximately 28 knots (52 km/h) at max RPM.
WorkBoat caught up with Smokey Glover, our Director of East Coast Operations at the recent International WorkBoat show in New Orleans.