The Great Lakes Group


“Why use a tug? Because Mother Nature has other ideas.”

It’s been 44 seasons since Tug Captain Joseph Heaney made his debut on the Great Lakes, but he still finds excitement each day on the job.

“Every day is a new challenge – it’s exciting. Each day you head out on the water it’s always something different.”

Over the 25 seasons he’s spent with The Great Lakes Towing Company, Heaney has not only lived a life of adventure, he’s also become part of a team that truly supports one another. His crew is anchored by seasoned veterans that have a passion for mentoring the more junior seamen.

“To the older guys in this industry it truly is a responsibility to teach those coming into the field. We care about the future and want to ensure the next generation is ready to fill that Captain’s chair.”

Joe Heaney

Training is a big focus for Heaney because, “You never know what you’re going to face on the Great Lakes. Whether it’s a tough tow or weather – like microbursts – a ship’s captain may think it’s going to be smooth sailing. Often that’s when Mother Nature has other plans. That’s when Great Lakes Towing is there to help.”

He himself has been able to receive great support as he’s moved through his career. He credits the leadership at The Towing Company with helping to make this possible, “Ron Rasmus hired me – I owe him a lot. He’s done a great job of keeping the company strong, building a capable leadership team and inspiring great work. He’s an amazing guy – I’m just happy to know him.”

Utilizing a Full-Service Lakes-Wide Towing Contract with the Towing Company provides added insurance. It’s an additional level of safety and seamanship to protect your crew, equipment, and the environment; wherever your vessel may call on the Great Lakes.