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

Yank Marine ready for its close-up

A new TV show about shipyards is perfect for WorkBoat readers. The folks at Yank Marine in South Jersey are getting ready for a viewing party next week. Theirs is one of the shipyards featured in the National Geographic Channel's new series, “The Yard.” The series, which airs on Wednesday nights, features shipyards, large and small, from Wrangell, Alaska, to Tuckahoe, N.J., going about the business of keeping U.S. vessels afloat. John Yank. National Geographic Channel photo.I asked...

Remembering Alyn Fife

The life and times of a renowned marine surveyor. Alyn Fife. Fife family photo.The renowned Virginia-based marine surveyor, Alyn Fraser Fife died March 11 at age 94. His career spanned 66 years. After serving in the Merchant Marine during World War II, Fife earned his Chief Engineer's license and sailed the seven seas before becoming a marine surveyor. He worked for the American Bureau of Shipping and the United States Salvage Association surveying vessels around the world. His hands-on...

A double-duty drydock for New Jersey

Dorchester Shipyard expansion adds capacity for workboat repairs. Dorchester Shipyard in southern New Jersey just completed the first drydocking on its new 500-ton capacity drydock. The drydock was built at Steel America, a division of Norfolk,Va.-based Colonna's Shipyard. It was towed up to the yard on the Maurice River, off the Delaware Bay by Northstar Towing. The dock is 100' long with eight ballast tanks and 60' between the wing walls. Dorchester Shipyard was purchased in 2005 by...

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...