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C-PORT Board of Directors and Management

The C-PORT Board of Directors is made up of C-PORT members who are experienced professionals from throughout the marine assistance industry. They each bring their own unique perspective to the Board to further the successes of the industry and its partners.

Working closely with the C-PORT Board of Directors is the Executive Staff. These professionals are tasked with the operation of the Association, addressing members' needs and assisting the Board of Directors with the continued growth and development of the Marine Assistance Industry.

Tina Cardone, Executive Director

Tina Cardone has decades of experience working within the Marine Assistance Industry. Beginning in the late 1980s, Tina worked closely with the Coast Guard learning about the new rules and regulations for the industry. She gained great insight into how an association supports its membership and principles through legislative actions, in meeting membership needs, and promoting the association’s ideals to the boating community. Her background gives her insight into how a marine business must juggle legislative requirements, employment needs and serving the boating community with profitability. Through this unique view, Tina is able to contribute to the continued growth and development of C-PORT and the Marine Assistance Industry it represents.

Tina has a B.A. in Political Science and enjoys the political system and has a fascination with the study of law. She enjoys writing and has written and collaborated on a number of published articles. Tina has cruised the Bahamas, Caribbean and made numerous crossings to Bermuda. Other voyages include cruising the Eastern U.S. from Florida to Maine, crossing to Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and the French Islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon.

Executive Committee and Board of Directors 

Phil LeBlanc, Chairman
Safe Sea/TowBoatU.S. Narragansett Bay
Wickford, RI

Growing up on Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay, Phil has been a boater his entire life. He spent each summer cruising the waters around New England under both power and sail. In 1998, at the age of 18, he obtained his captain’s license and began working for Safe/Sea, TowBoatU.S. Narragansett Bay as a way to put himself through the University of Rhode Island. What began as a college job following his passion of being on the water has culminated in a career spanning two decades.

Phil is now co-owner of the business he began working for almost 20 years ago. He has served on various C-PORT committees over the years and has been the C-PORT representative on the NASBLA BOAT Program Advisory Council. He holds a 100-Ton Master for Near Coastal Waters with Commercial Assistance Towing and Radar Endorsements. As an ambassador of the commercial assistance industry, Phil looks forward to helping continue the growth of the industry through education and outreach.

Harold "Smitty" Smith, Vice Chairman
Miller's Towing & Salvage/TowBoatU.S. Sandy Hook
Atlantic Highlands, NJ

Harold Smith, better known in the industry as Smitty, lives in Middletown, NJ with his wife Sissy of 35 years. They have 3 children and a grandchild. They are lucky enough to live on an 11 acre farm where they house their horses.

Smitty has been working on boats all of his adult life and has had his USCG credential for more than 30 years.  He holds a 200 ton masters license and a master of towing credential.  Smitty started right out of high school working on tug boats in NY Harbor.  After starting a family, the schedule was tough.  Smitty went to work for the Fast Ferry industry becoming a senior Captain, and stayed there for 10 years.  In 1998, he joined Millers Launch, the largest oil spill response company in NY Harbor as a supervisor. When they acquired TowBoatU.S. Sandy Hook, Smitty took the management lead running the day to day operations.

Smitty brings vast amounts of experience in the towing and salvage business to C-PORT.  He is a member of the American Salvage Association and has been involved with the incident command system for oil spills, as well as managing a marine assistance towing and salvage company in a busy port.  Smitty feels his knowledge and understanding of the challenges we all face will help him be a positive force on the board, helping the industry to keep regulations in check.
Chris Day, Treasurer
Georgia Boat Safety and Training/TowBoatU.S. Lake Allatoona
Dallas, GA

Chris started his on the water career after spending 11 years in Law Enforcement Criminal Interdiction.  He was looking for a change from the fast pace life of a narcotics officer.  Chris remarked that little did he know, responding to an ad for a deckhand in Tybee Island, GA would turn into a new and exciting career.  Chris started Georgia Boat Safety and Training in 2016 with a target audience of public safety professionals.  They have trained several agencies in boat operations in and around Georgia.  Shortly after starting his company, Chris was approached by the previous owner of the TowBoatU.S. Lake Allatoona area.  Chris purchased the company in 2018 and began to build his brand in the area by giving back to the local community. Chris serves as the Water Safety Coordinator for SafeKids Barow/Cherokee County, hosts an annual fundraiser every year to support local family on the lake, and participates on the Lake Allatoona Water Safety Task Force.  It was no surprise when Chris volunteered to chair the C-PORT Programs and Training Committee this year.  

His boating experience expands from near coastal to inland waters, working in both the private and government sectors. "I have served on many committees and boards in my Law Enforcement career from city to federal government," Chris said. "I feel I can bring a much needed voice to C-PORT for Inland towing companies." 
Dale Plummer, Secretary
Baltimore Marine Recovery/TowBoatU.S. Baltimore
Pasadena, MD

Dale Plummer, a lifetime Chesapeake Bay boater, left Corporate America in 2007 to begin his professional marine assistance career. He is a USCG licensed Master Captain with a Commercial Assistance Towing endorsement and began towing for TowBoatU.S. Baltimore/Middle River/ Baltimore Marine Recovery in 2007. Dale’s 20 plus years of diving experience has been instrumental in the growth of salvage operations for BMR. His 20 years of business, marketing and organizational knowledge enabled Dale to purchase BMR/TowBoatUS Baltimore/Middle River in January of 2011.

Dale is President of Chesapeake Marine Towing and Assistance Association (CMTAA), a regional chapter of C-PORT, and an active member of the Marine Trades Association of Baltimore County. Dale believes that corporate responsibility and professionalism must extend to all trades. He is a leader in the marine community lending support to local law enforcement and the U.S. Coast Guard and he proactively works to protect the valuable natural resources of the Chesapeake Bay.

Rob Butler
Big Bay Marine Services/TowBoatU.S. San Diego
San Diego, CA

Robert started as a Salvage Diver for Vessel Assist San Diego in 1988 while operating a charter boat company out of San Diego and Mexico. In 1990 Robert married his wife Brandi and soon after started Vessel Assist Tacoma in the Pacific Northwest. While in Washington, Robert starred operations in Everett and Seattle. In 1999 Robert sold Vessel Assist Tacoma/Seattle and purchased Vessel Assist San Diego.

Robert has navigated on every coastal waterways in the Continental US, Hawaii, Guam and Puerto Rico calibrating radio towers for the Rescue 21 Project. Robert is been married and has two daughters, Courtney and Hannah.  Robert has been an active member of C-PORT since 1995.

Jake Dunfee
Rescue Marine/TowBoatU.S. Port Clinton
Marblehead, OH

Jake Dunfee began his career in the towing and salvage industry in 1992, when he was hired by one of the C-PORT founders, Neil Shrock.  Neil hired Jake to be a deckhand and dispatcher at Boater's Emergency Service in Marblehead, OH. Growing up boating on Lake Erie, it was gratifying and exciting to have a job helping boaters in distress during high school and college summer breaks.  After graduating from college, Jake had the opportunity to purchase Boater's Emergency Service in 2001.  In 2005, he purchased two additional local towing firms creating Rescue Marine as a TowBoatUS towing company.

In the past twenty-six years, Jake has seen many exciting changes and many threats to our industry.  In Jake's words: "This industry has faced great challenges with potentially grave consequences. Thankfully C-PORT addressed these challenges and allowed for the birth and unimaginable growth of the towing and salvage industry.  It is important that C-PORT fulfills its mission to represent, promote, protect, and defend its member companies.  I would be honored to serve on the C-PORT Board of Directors representing the industry in which I take a great deal of pride."

Richard Paul

Marine Towing & Salvage of SWFL/TowBoatU.S. Cape Coral
Cape Coral, FL

Rich’s desire to work on the water is a dream come true. Growing up in Florida, and spending endless weekends on Little Gasperilla Island, he knew his love of the water would eventually lead to a career on the water. In 2005, Rich received his 50 ton Masters License with a Towing Endorsement. While attending the Captain school, he learned the local TowBoatUS company was for sale.   After a 25 year career, Rich retired from Publix Supermarkets and bought TowBoatUS Cape Coral, where he began a new career on the water.  For the last 12 years, Rich has been very dedicated and committed on working to change the perception of the marine towing and salvaging profession.  He said, "We are professional business owners, not a band of pirates."