As owners of Sea Tow Smith Mountain Lake, Captains Rick and Nancy Ellett work side-by-side, day in and day out, to ensure boaters on the Virginia lake are well taken care of 365 days a year.
But it’s not just boaters that the husband and wife team are focused on. They are keenly aware of the needs in their local community.
When the Ellett’s first met, Rick worked as a contractor for FedEx Ground and Nancy was a legal assistant at a law firm. Their love started to blossom when Rick began delivering packages to the law office where Nancy worked. Over time his deliveries became a chance for the two to talk and get to know each other until one day Rick asked her out. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Three years into their marriage, Rick realized his passion for the boating industry and his community far outweighed the desire to continue with his FedEx career. With Nancy’s support, both took the plunge to get their captain’s licenses, and in 2009, Sea Tow Smith Mountain Lake was formed.
“Everyone tells you that when you work together and are both there together full-time, all the time, that you don’t always get along, but I think we get along better now than we were before,” Nancy said.
The two are the definition of teamwork, both on and off the water. Not only do they tackle jobs on the water together, but they also divide and conquer when it comes to office work and taking care of the business. Plus, they enjoy each other’s company.
When locals think of Sea Tow Smith Mountain Lake, they don’t just think of Sea Tow, but of Rick and Nancy. In addition to being owners and captains, they are actively involved in their community, participating in events and activities on a regular basis. They are also known for the enormous toy drives they conduct each Christmas for Lake Christian Ministries, which distributes the toys to local children around Smith Mountain Lake.
Fun fact about the family: Nancy’s daughter, Amy, frequently accompanied her and Rick to various boat shows and events years ago dressed up as “Tow Bee,” which is where she was introduced to Phil Witmer, a Smith Mountain Lake captain. Their connection was instantaneous and are now married and have a 5-year-old. Although Phil and Amy both have their own careers and are not out on the lake every week, it is clear to see that this franchise had a large role in their love story.
Looking back at 2020, Rick and Nancy know it wasn’t without its challenges, but know working side by side has been a blessing they are grateful for.