Tag: historic ships

Education in maritime is in a class by itself for too many reasons to count. Bottom line; maritime education works, and people are starting to take notice.


The strength of maritime education lies in integration. Basically it allows students to engage in multiple learning experiences simultaneously. Instead of one hour of language, one hour of math and one hour of science, the Holy Grail in education is to find a setting where one hour of education is the equivalent of three hours of language, math and science.


This often occurs in maritime education and that is why it is so effective (as described in this SNAME article by Gayle Horvath of NMHA), but just because it occurs, does not mean that it cannot be improved or enhanced.



On May 12, 2014, a very special group of New York Harbor stake holders made an announcement that provides an entirely new concept in maritime educational excellence.

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It may have become evident that I am of the opinion that the maritime community is a tower of strength for the spirit of cooperation, jointness and just getting the job done. I will provide yet another example of this, but first let me set the stage.


This year is the 350th anniversary of the founding of New Jersey. New Jersey was a little late in getting founded because it was controlled by the Dutch who were interested in maritime and trade, but not all that much in settling the landward side of Nieuw Amsterdam. This changed in 1663/1664 when the Dutch ceded Nieuw Amsterdam to England and British farmers who felt that it was time to officially settle the land we now know as New Jersey.


The most significant settlement that occurred was the arrival of a few English Quaker and Baptist families who left Gravesend Bay, Brooklyn and arrived in Monmouth County near the mouth of the Navesink River in the early summer of 1664.


They came by boat and our friends at Navesink Maritime Heritage Association felt we should commemorate this event with a visit to the Navesink by a proper vessel. It turns out we knew about such a vessel, it is the Onrust. read more »

On the way to a paddle wheeler passenger vessel project at Cape Girardeau, I passed Vicksburg and decided to stay the night. The next morning I took a quick drive through the Vicksburg battle field and came upon the USS Cairo, the remains of a Civil War era ironclad river gunboat that is now beautifully displayed at the battle field.

The vessel is part of the amazing story of the seven City Class river gunboats. With the Civil War looming, it became apparent that absolute naval dominance of the Mississippi river would be required.


The Union needed gunboats upriver quickly and the solution was provided by two unsung maritime greats; Samuel Pook and James Eads. Pook designed an excellent ironclad river paddle wheeler gunboat and Eads, a Mississippi salvor and brilliant self taught engineer, became the builder. read more »

A recent bit in the news announced that the "Exxon Valdez" in its present incarnation as the "Oriental Nicety" is bound for the scrap yard.


It is easy to think of the "Exxon Valdez" as some villainous symbol in the drama of the oil spill in Alaska, but, as Paul Harvey used to say, then there is the rest of the story.

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The Normandie is by far my favorite passenger vessel from a design point of view (on a pure love/looks basis, the pre-war Nieuw Amsterdam II beats her by a small margin).


Years ago I came across a set of drawings in our office with a last correction date of February 9, 1942 that show the conversion of the Normandie to an unnamed troop carrier drawn by Cox & Stevens.


It always was a mystery to me why we had this set of drawings, but recently, for the Bahrs Bar and Museum project, I was reading "Normandie, Her Life and Times" by Harvey Ardman (quite a good read by the way) and on page 273 there was mention of a Normandie valuation by Frank S. Martin. read more »

Rik van Hemmen's picture
Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

Robert Fulton

Francis A. Martin, the founder of Martin & Ottaway, was a grandnephew of Robert Fulton, the first successful steamboat operator (I will not get into the debate as to who invented the steamboat, but I agree it was not Robert Fulton). Robert Fulton is a rather elusive figure who was a prolific inventor and technical promoter and a pretty good painter too.

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Rik van Hemmen's picture
Thursday, May 5th, 2011

A first (as far as I know)

Since 1995 Martin & Ottaway has been based in Monmouth County on the North Jersey shore, but many of us have known the shore for much longer than that. One of Chris Hanges' favorite Jersey hangouts was Bahrs Landing in Highlands, a short distance from the Seastreak ferry.


Bahrs Landing still is a Jersey shore favorite and plays a part in the life of many a Monmouth County resident past and present. The restaurant decor is traditional "shore shack" with sawtooth fish jaws, rustic ship models and a diver Dan suit, but the last time I stopped by I noticed a diorama containing three generations of the Columbia Bar lightship. These scale models were quite a step up from the crude models that are associated with the traditional shore shack style. Jay Cosgrove, the fourth generation Owner of the restaurant, was right there and I asked where he picked that beauty up. 



So this is the story in a nutshell: One of his customers, Henry Schaeffer, a long time Atlantic Highlands resident, is an avid ship model builder, who is now near 80 and had moved some time ago to a retirement community in central Jersey. Advancing in age, he was wondering what to do with his ship model collection, and contacted Jay if he could donate his ship model collection to Bahrs' Restaurant for free lunches in perpetuity.

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Museums are scary things. It would be interesting to figure out when the first true museum was created. I am not talking about curio collections, like animal zoos, that must go back to prehistoric times and church collections that focus on relics, I am talking about institutions that are interested in preserving objects that have human significance. Institutions that preserve objects that provide specific references to our human development. Art would be a part of that and so would be religious objects, but our real progress is measured by all aspects of humanity; commerce, finance, technology, education and trade, and it seems to me there are more and more museums for all these aspects of humanity everyday.



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