Seatow International Headquarters, Southold, NY.  
LEED NC 2.1 Certified

Architect:  Seatow International
LEED Consultant:  Peter Caradonna Architecture and Planning

Role:  LEED Construction Documentation


Sea Tow is a marine assistance provider for recreational boaters with an “unwavering commitment to public safety and environmental responsibility.”  A franchise business, there are more than 100 locations throughout the United States, Australia, Europe, the Bahamas and Puerto Rico. Sea Tow’s sister company, Sea Spill, is a program for environmental remediation in the case of petroleum spill or other event, so it naturally followed that environmental sustainability was a key goal when it came to constructing a new facility. 

Prior to occupying the current building, located in Southold, NY, Sea Tow’s corporate offices were located in a nearby 2,000 square foot building.  As the company grew, the need for a larger facility manifested, and the team relocated to the new 20,000 square foot building in 2006.  These new offices serve as the new international Sea Tow headquarters and therefore required the extensive increase in square footage.

The Southold structure occupies land in the rural, farming area on the North Fork of Long Island in New York, sandwiched between the Peconic Bay and the Long Island Sound.  Until the 1980s, the site was occupied by lumber, coal and farm supplies storage facilities.  It is approximately 3 acres and includes various other commercial structures. The site is bordered by commercial and residential zones. It lies 31 feet above sea level and is relatively level. 

Among the major deciding factors for locating the building in its current site is the fact that it is in close proximity to the prior location.  Since many Sea Tow employees live in the surrounding area, this minimized the impact on their commuting distance.  Other decisions as to the location of the building included the fact that the site had been previously developed and that is was located close to the Long Island Railroad, the most convenient form of mass transit.

Due to the location and purpose of the facility, it was critical that the building epitomize sustainability.  The designers started with a solidly structured Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) and reinforced concrete building envelope.  Not only does the ICF shell offer continuous & substantial insulation but, because of the coastal location and weather patterns of Long Island as well as the fact that Sea Tow provides emergency dispatch services, it is important the facility be able to withstand the most adverse weather.  The concrete construction is designed to sustain hurricane conditions and winds up to 200 mph.  

In addition to the tight building envelope and other energy saving features, the building features a large amount of recycled and regional materials.  In fact, when it was practical, Sea Tow decided to have some of its building materials shipped by rail to take advantage of their close proximity to the railroad station and to reduce the amount of vehicle miles on the famously congested Long Island roadways.  Since a train station is located so close to the building, employees are encouraged to use the Long Island Railroad, carpool, bike or even walk to work, which a fair amount do.

In order to address water use Sea Tow utilizes water saving fixtures as well as an innovative irrigation system.  Cisterns collect rainwater which is then used for the plantings on the building site.  This system allows the mostly native plants to be watered while eliminating all potable water use for irrigation.

Sea Tow is primarily an office space. It is used as corporate headquarters for the executive staff and marketing teams and is the center of communications for the company’s emergency dispatch network. The building also provides classroom instruction for the extensive Sea Tow training program. The education doesn’t end with Sea Tow employees, the building is open to the public where people can learn more about its energy and water saving features and how they can use them at their homes or places of work.  The Sea Tow building is also listed as an emergency shelter location, made possible by the solid ICF construction, to help serve their local community. The Sea Tow team shows immense dedication to their natural and social environments.