John Tipton was born in Charlotte, North Carolina and moved to Jacksonville Beach with his family in 1952 where he has lived since. He graduated from Georgia Military College in 1964 and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1967. He attended the Artillery OCS in Fort Sill, Oklahoma. John served two tours in Vietnam, first as an Artillery Officer and later as an Assault Helicopter Platoon Leader from 1968 to 1971. He left active duty in 1972 and joined the Florida National Guard serving as a Platoon Leader, Maintenance Officer and Company Commander; he holds the rating of Army Master Aviator.
John attended Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and holds an Airline Transport Pilot Certificate. He began a marine career in 1973 as a Yacht Captain and Delivery Captain for Chris Craft, Bertram and Hatteras Factories. He then entered the commercial marine industry in 1978 and served as Captain aboard inshore tugs, offshore tugs, supply vessels and anchor handling tug supply (AHTS) vessels. In addition to holding a U.S. Army Marine Deck Officer licensed grade of Master, John also holds a United States Coast Guard 1600 Ton Master Upon Oceans License.
In 2003, John retired after 35 years of active and reserve service, and 27 years in the marine industry. He has since worked with Captain Nichols and the City of Jacksonville on marine projects such as the Night of Lights parades, fireworks displays, and football games. He also served as the South Bank Harbormaster for Super Bowl XXXIX. He worked with Captain Nichols as Assistant Harbormaster at Epping Forest Yacht Club since 2006 and was recently promoted to Harbormaster in 2010.
John’s hobbies include boating, shooting sports and frequent travel to the Bahamas, Caribbean and Mexico. He has been married for 34 years to his wife Jan, a retired Duval County School Teacher. John and Jan have two sons, Sergeant Eric Tipton USMC and Captain Brent Tipton. Eric, his wife and son live near Camp Pendleton, California where he is currently stationed. Brent is a Vessel Captain employed with Edison Chouest Offshore and lives in Houma, Louisiana.