"Always on Station": The Story of the Sandy Hook Ship Pilots

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9781930098916:

There are few organizations in this country that can trace their founding to more than three hundred years ago as the Sandy Hook Pilots can. Their logo carries the date 1694. They served under two national flags: British and American. Over the centuries, the pilots have weathered many changes, but the United New York and New Jersey Sandy Hook Pilots Benevolent Association is still safely guiding ships across the bar as they enter and leave the Port of New York and New Jersey. (The bar of sand and mud at the entrance to the port is a shoal with depth dependent on weather, tides, moons phases and even wrecked vessels.)

This book follows the pilots' organization from its founding. Every change in the maritime industry has had repercussions for the pilots, from the changing of sailing ships to steamships to the present-day containerization of cargoes. The apprenticeship training needed to qualify as a pilot has gone from requiring time at sea under sail to today's holding of college degrees and working with electronics and computers. The pilots also carry on many traditions like dressing as businessmen when boarding ships from small launches via Jacob's ladders. The years are full of instances of pilots answering calls to make heroic rescues at sea to save life and property. The pilots have taken the basic tenets of an ancient trade guild and adapted it for today's world, working together to provide a highly skilled service needed in the twenty-first century.

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About the Author:

Francis (Frank) Duffy is a native New Yorker, maritime writer and photographer. His bylines for hard news, feature stories and photos have appeared in the New York metropolitan news papers, including The New York Times, New York Newsday, and Staten Island Advance. He co-authored The New York Harbor Book with William Miller in 1986. He narrated a documentary on a History Channel special for the centennial of the General Slocum disaster of 1904 that aired in June 2004. Since 1982, his column on the Port of New York and New Jersey has appeared quarterly in Steamboat Bill, the journal of the Steamship Historical Society of America. He writes on the American maritime scene for the United Kingdom marine publications Fairplay, Ships Monthly and Marine News.

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Francis J. Duffy
Published by Purple Mountain Press (2008)
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Francis J. Duffy
Published by Purple Mountain Press (2008)
ISBN 10: 193009891X ISBN 13: 9781930098916
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