Alfonso Sanchez Bermudez, head keeper of the Isla Caja de Muertos Lighthouse (located just off the coast of southern Puerto Rico), performed a lifesaving action in September 1916 that would earn him a formal commendation. This action involved rescuing a man who, while sailing in the vicinity of the lighthouse, found himself in danger of... Continue Reading →

July 27, 1914 The steamship SS Pleiades, part of the fleet of the Luckenbach Steamship Company, left San Francisco for what ultimately proved to be a record-setting voyage to New York City. Pleaides, carrying 5,000 tons (4,535.9 metric tons) of cargo on board, became the first ship in regular commercial traffic to sail from the... Continue Reading →

Nainoa Thompson is widely regarded as the first Native Hawaiian in modern times to adopt and successfully use traditional Polynesian voyaging methods for open-ocean sailing. Those methods rely on natural reference points (e.g., the Sun, stars, sea swells, the movements of fish and birds) instead of today’s conventional wayfinding instruments for navigation. (A sub-region of... Continue Reading →

April 19, 1928 Theodorus “Dorus” Rijkers, who was credited with saving hundreds of lives from shipwrecks along the coast of the Netherlands, died at the age of 81 in Den Helder. Rijkers had been born in that Dutch city in 1847. Rijkers’ lifesaving career began in 1872. While out at sea in his boat one... Continue Reading →

March 9, 1922 The steamship Virginia V was launched on the northwestern coast of Washington State. This steamship had been built with Douglas fir trees by Matthew Anderson of Anderson & Company for the West Pass Transportation Company. The 125-foot (38-meter) vessel was the last of that company’s working steamships named Virginia.  Three months after being... Continue Reading →

In 1947, Fannie May Hudgins Salter (1883-1966) retired as the lighthouse keeper at Turkey Point Light at the head of the Chesapeake Bay in northeastern Maryland. Since Turkey Point Light was fully automated soon thereafter, Salter had the distinction of being its last lighthouse keeper. In addition, she had been the fourth female lighthouse keeper... Continue Reading →

February 26, 1925 In the southeast region of Virginia, Captain Albert F. Jester launched a then-innovative type of ferry service on the James River between the community of Scotland in Surry County on the southern bank and historic Jamestown Island (site of the first permanent English settlement in the Americas) in James City County on... Continue Reading →

On February 10, 1896, the only station of the U.S. Life-Saving Service (USLSS) with an all-African American crew at that time undertook one of its many vital rescue missions in the stormy waters along and near Pea Island within the Outer Banks of North Carolina. At around 3:30 in the morning and in the midst... Continue Reading →

Stephen Myers was a major African American civil rights advocate and Underground Railroad leader in his home state of New York. He harnessed his considerable knowledge of the state’s water transportation system to help secure freedom for runaway slaves in the decades prior to the Civil War and emancipation.  Myers been born a slave in the... Continue Reading →

November 12, 1901 Industrial designer Alexis de Sakhnoffsky was born in the Ukrainian city of Kiev in what was then the Russian Empire. He fled his homeland by 1920 in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution and ended up pursuing a wide-ranging design career that included many transportation makes and models.  Throughout a large part of... Continue Reading →

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