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

Colonna’s Shipyard plans expansion

A family-owned shipyard plans a major expansion. Norfolk,Va.-based Colonna's Shipyard has big expansion plans. Never one to rest on their laurels, the team at this family-owned shipyard founded in 1875 is looking far into the future with a $30 million expansion. "We have a very long history here, but we also have a long horizon," said CEO Tom Godfrey. The shipyards latest expansion project includes the acquisition of land adjacent to its West Yard. It will be called the Spotico Creek...

Gifts for the marine-inclined

Options for the mariners on your list. Each year, I try to scout out some gift ideas for the marine-inclined. This year, instead of phone cases customized with a photo of your boat (still a good idea from CaseApp), or towboat salt and pepper shakers from Tugboat Bay, I thought I would tell you about three books that are really, really good. Hang on — before you click away muttering,"Books? Nobody reads books anymore..." consider how portable a book is, no wifi required. Think about how...

Recruiting a younger maritime workforce

Introducing students to maritime careers is the first step toward recruiting them.   "Can I touch the gun?" "Man, this seat is comfortable!" "No way am I climbing up there." These were a few of the remarks I overheard when dozens of high schoolers descended upon the Vane Brothers headquarters in Baltimore during Port Fest Education Week last month. The Baltimore Heritage Area's Port Fest organization provides opportunities year round for students to learn about the working port...

Dann Marine acquisitions come with history

New boats have stories to tell. Dann Marine Towing has acquired two boats and a lot of history from Kirby Corp. Chesapeake City, Md.-based Dann Marine has added the Diamond Coast (ex-Chief) and Carolina Coast (ex-Falcon) bringing its fleet to twenty tugs and twenty-one barges. Both boats were part of the Allied Transportation fleet when that company was acquired by Kirby in 2012. The Carolina Coast. Dann Marine photo.The Carolina Coast is 118'x33'x18.5' and is powered by two 12-251C...

Not your average pilot boat

Gladding-Hearn's new Chesapeake Mk2-class could give new meaning to high performance. Recently, in Somerset, Mass., Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding launched a new pilot boat, this one for the Tampa Bay Pilots who serve the ports of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Manatee, Fla. Yawn...right? Gladding-Hearn has produced more pilot boats than any other shipyard, but this boat is a bit different and may be the beginning of a trend in high performance workboats. A Gladding-Hearn-Chesapeake-class...

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...