In early 2003, Capt. John Altenburg’s life changed forever. Although he had already spent nearly 15 years in the marine industry as owner of a local boat dealership, he had no idea how much things would change over the next decade and a half.
Next month, Capt. John will celebrate his 15th anniversary as owner of Sea Tow Lake Murray in beautiful South Carolina and what brought him to the distinctive yellow of Sea Tow was nothing short of fate itself.
One day, Capt. John was out fishing with friends when their boat broke down. It was then that Capt. John first saw a Sea Tow boat firsthand.
“We were aboard a friend’s Grady White with twin Yamahas when we broke down about 20 miles off-shore,” Capt. John said. “I saw that yellow boat come and get us back up and running and I thought, there’s a business I need to get into.
In the coming months, he began pursuing Sea Tow and opened the Lexington-based franchise in March of 2003.
Since that day, he’s built the Lake Murray franchise into a stalwart in the local boating community, boasting a thriving membership, five boats and four full-time captains.
“We started from zero in 2003 with basically no one in the area knowing what Sea Tow was,” Capt. John said. “Since then, we’ve been educating the public and telling people what Sea Tow is all about. Nowadays, just about everyone knows who we are. It’s been awesome to witness that growth firsthand.”
In his free time, Capt. John enjoys spending time with his wife of thirty years and two sons. Both kids are committed athletes and with his wife, Capt. John has spent the last two decades at wrestling matches, and football and baseball games. John’s oldest is in grad school studying pharmacy at the University of South Carolina and his youngest plays catcher for the Lexington High baseball team.
When they’re not playing sports, the Altenbergs love being out on the water.
“Ultimately, there’s nowhere I’d rather be,” Capt. John said. “I’d prefer to be out on the water than in the office any day of the week.”