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Late co-owner of Sea Tow Boston honored with new life jacket station in Winthrop

Capt. Steve Winkler at the helm towing a boat. The longtime owner of Sea Tow Boston died last summer.Sea Tow Foundation

The late co-owner of Sea Tow Boston was honored last Thursday with the dedication of a life jacket loaner station in Winthrop during National Safe Boating Week.

Capt. Steve Winkler, a lifelong advocate for boating safety and education, died suddenly on July 16, 2021. He was 73 and owned the East Boston-based boat towing business with his brother, Dave Winkler, for 29 years, according to the Sea Tow Foundation.

The foundation is the nonprofit arm of Sea Tow, a national boat-towing service.

A ceremony to celebrate Winkler’s lifelong dedication to the boating industry was held at the Cottage Park Yacht Club, where he was a member. Donations from the boating community to the Sea Tow Foundation were used to create a life jacket loaner station with custom signage in his honor, the organization said.


The station will provide boaters with the free, temporary use of life jackets, which must be returned on the same day.

The family of the late Capt. Steve Winkler gathered at the Cottage Park Yacht Club’s new life jacket loaner station including from left to right: grandson Jake Forgione, daughter Jen Riley, son Capt. Steven Winkler Jr., wife Betsy Winkler, and brother Capt. Dave Winkler.Sea Tow Foundation

A new 27-foot AmeraCat boat, named the Steven W. Winkler , was on display for the first time at the yacht club, the statement said.

Family, friends and members of the boating community attended the event to honor Winkler’s legacy, and speakers, such as his brother and executive director of the foundation Gail R. Kulp, offered remarks.

“We are so very pleased to honor the life of Capt. Steve Winkler and appreciate his countless contributions to the boating community over many decades throughout the Greater Boston area,” Kulp said in the statement. “This Life Jacket Loaner Station established in his memory will be a lasting legacy for years to come, while extending a wonderful, free service to area boaters.”

Among Winkler’s accomplishments, he held a 100-ton Near Coastal Master Captain’s License from the U.S. Coast Guard. Additionally, Winkler served as president of Duplin Marine for 14 years and as the general manager of Community Boating Incorporated for nine years before co-owning Sea Tow Boston, the organization said.


Madison Mercado can be reached at