Brunswick: The ocean port of Georgia

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9780966774900: Brunswick: The ocean port of Georgia
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Both men followed their father to become full branch pilots in the Brunswick Bar Pilots Association, St. Simons Island, Ga., bringing ships over the bar and up the Brunswick River to the Port of Brunswick at the apex of a curve of coastline called the Georgia Bight. Currently, the association employs three full branch pilots, two short branch pilots and dispatcher Henry Wynn. Ships have been crossing the Brunswick Bar since 1566 when the Spanish established San Simeon, a mission on present day St. Simons Island. I met Edwin Jr. and Bruce on the pilot boat dock at the Sea Island Yacht Club where the association's two pilot boats, GRAYFEN and Retriever, are moored. GRAYFEN was named for Capt. Lawrence Gray, the association's senior active pilot, and Edwin Jr., now retired from active service but still serving as the association's president. Retriever is a multi-purpose vessel that serves as a pilot boat, towboat and hydrographic survey platform. Next to the two pilot boats, Capt. Jonathan Tennant, a short branch pilot, was conducting a marine safety class for the captains of SeaTow Brunswick, a company independent of the association, but owned and operated by its members. "The tow business is a good place to train apprentices on small vessels," Edwin Jr said. Using the company's official high-speed towboat, and sometimes the Retriever, to rescue boats in the channel and harbor, apprentice pilots soon learn where a boat should and should not go. "It helps the apprentice pilots gain additional hands-on experience and become local knowledge experts," Bruce said.

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