Kathy Bergren SmithKathy Bergren Smith
Kathy Bergren Smith has been a correspondent with WorkBoat since 2002. She is also a writer and photographer for the Port of Baltimore Magazine covering shipping and port activities. Smith, also a noted commercial and fine art photographer, resides in Annapolis, Md.

Blog Activity

Family-owned tug company takes the Honey Run

Small tug company in Pennsylvania gets sludge barge contract. Five years ago, on a bright summer day in Philadelphia, a remarkable maritime tragedy unfolded. The K-Sea tug Caribbean Sea pushed a 250' sludge barge over an amphibious duck boat full of sightseers in the Delaware River. In what the NTSB chief called "yet another example of the deadliness of distraction," it was revealed that all the personnel save one were either on the phone or texting. The only one who was not was the...

From laborer to machine shop chief

Former shipyard laborer now runs Colonna’s machine shop facility. At the turn of the century, Ken Mebane was the facilities director at Colonna’s Shipyard in Norfolk, Va. He spoke with his boss Bill Colonna Jr. about the possibility of starting up a standalone machine shop in the yard. “We thought we could support it given the scope of the machine work we already had and the depth of talent here,” Mebane said recently. Colonna’s formed Steel America and Mebane now runs the...

Cruising on Lake Sunapee

Time travel is the stuff of science fiction, but I often find that maritime excursions offer time travel of a more real-life sort. Time travel is the stuff of science fiction, made up of futuristic visions that usually involve spacecraft, right? But I often find that maritime excursions offer time travel of a more real-life sort. Take my cruise on the Mt. Sunapee II over the Memorial Day weekend in New Hampshire. It was definitely 2015 by my calendar, but don’t tell the good people...

Watermark Cruises teams up with firefighters

Watermark invites firefighters to tour their passenger vessels. Early May on the Chesapeake is when the weather starts to warm, the wind is blowing, and the boating season is getting underway. This spring, Annapolis, Md.’s largest cruise-tour operator, Watermark, hosted several groups of local firefighters on their vessels — not for a day on the bay, but for a tour of its passenger boats. It was a very good idea that brought together over 100 firefighters who familiarized themselves...

Fighting rust at the WorkBoat expo

Don’t let a nosy captain steal your good idea. Roaming the aisles at the WorkBoat Maintenance & Repair Expo held earlier this month in New Orleans, I enjoyed scoping out the wide array of specialty products designed especially for the maritime repair industry. There was lots of gear relating to engines, naturally, and plenty of wheelhouse electronics, but there was a preponderance of stuff relating to hull maintenance. This makes sense since steel and water do not have the chemistry...

New WorkBoat repair show wows 'em

New Orleans, with her down-at-the-heel beauty, is the perfect place to hold a maintenance and repair show for the workboat industry. New Orleans, with her down-at-the-heel beauty, is the perfect place to hold a maintenance and repair show for the workboat industry. Like old boats, the buildings here have nice lines and just need some tending. Wandering the aisles of this new offering, the WorkBoat Maintenance & Repair Conference and Expo, I got to thinking how in our throwaway...

Ancient shark caught in fisherman's backyard

Backyard project uncovers remains of extinct shark.   This might not be a workboat story, but who doesn't love a good fish story? Last Halloween, Chesapeake Beach, Md., charter boat captain, Shawn Gibson, made the most exciting catch of his life — in his parents' backyard — a quarter of a mile from the Chesapeake Bay. The fisherman and his family made a major paleontological find when they unearthed the fossilized remains of a 15-million-year-old snaggletooth shark while digging...

Ballast water test barge

Ballast water systems that pass barge tests will be likely be approved by the Coast Guard and become the industry standard. The Port of Baltimore is known for its close proximity to U.S. manufacturing centers making it the busiest Ro-Ro port on the East Coast. But the port also smack dab in the center of the research and government hub around Washington, D.C., making it a natural location for marine research. OAS_url = 'http://oascentral.workboat.com'; OAS_pos =...

Wenonah Hlavin, assistant dockmaster, General Ship Repair

Hlavin is the assistant dockmaster at General Ship Repair, the Port of Baltimore's only full service shipyard. "Sometimes the tug captains are a bit taken aback when they realize I am running the dock," Wenonah Hlavin said on a bitter cold day in Baltimore harbor. Hlavin is the assistant dockmaster at General Ship Repair, the Port of Baltimore's only full service shipyard. OAS_url = 'http://oascentral.workboat.com'; OAS_pos = 'Middle1'; OAS_sitePage = 'wb/news'; var OAS_RN = new...

Kulluk cover story is a good read

 With the benefit of two years hindsight and a comprehensive Coast Guard report published last April, writer McKenzie Funk pieces together a riveting tale of the grounding of the Shell oil rig Kulluk. This week's New York Times Magazine cover story is a fascinating and detailed account of the grounding of the Shell oil rig Kulluk in the Gulf of Alaska two years ago. With the benefit of two years hindsight and a comprehensive Coast Guard report published last April, writer McKenzie Funk...