1EDITH, Hoboken, NJ – 1932 Captain William Baletti's "EDITH" returning to her pier at Hoboken, NJ circa 1932. In the background is the Manhattan skyline off West 14th Street. The boat was built in 1902 at Boston, MA as the steam yacht "SATILLA". In May 1917, the US Navy acquired her for service during World War I and named her the "USS SATILLA" with the hull designation of "SP 687". Assigned to coastal patrol duty along the Maine coast during World War I, she returned to civilian operation in 1920 when Oscar Ledberg of Providence, RI purchased the boat and renamed her "EDITH".
In 1927, Captain William Baletti purchased the "EDITH" and she began making fishing trips from the 15th Street Pier at Hoboken, NJ. Captain Baletti also picked up additional anglers at Battery Park, NY before heading to the fishing grounds. Photo courtesy of Phil Castellano.
2HELEN H, Brooklyn, NY – 1932 A 1932 postcard for the original "HELEN H" operated by Captain Alex Hansen. She sailed from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY. Captain Harry Rigby (the owner/operator of the party boat "BROOKLYN") designed the boat and she was built in 1930 by Ernest Fiedler at Bergen Beach Boat Works, Brooklyn, NY. She later became the "FIDUS", the "ELLEN S", and then Captain Joe Burns' “MOHAWK” from Point Pleasant, NJ. She is another example of a 'skipjack' class party boat.
3PARAMOUNT, Brielle, NJ – 1932 The original "PARAMOUNT" from Brielle, NJ circa 1932. Captain John Bogan Sr., Captain John Bogan Jr. and Captain James Bogan Sr. operated the "PARAMOUNT", but Captain James Bogan Sr. is shown in the picture standing at the open helm above the cabin. The vessel was built at Brooklyn, NY in 1930 and had a length of 48’ and a 16’ beam. A single 100 HP, 4-cylinder Fairbanks Morse diesel engine provided power to the propeller. The gangster 'Dutch' Shultz originally owned the boat and operated her as a "rum-runner" during the prohibition era. The boat was "busted" on her very first smuggling run and later sold at government auction to the Bogan Family in 1930.
The "PARAMOUNT" began her fishing career sailing from Bayonne, NJ until 1931 when the Bogan family relocated to Brielle, NJ. In 1934, she responded to the Morro Castle disaster and rescued 67 passengers from the ill-fated vessel. The federal government seized her for coastal patrol use during World War II. She ended her most interesting fishing career in Bermuda. Photo courtesy of Captain Dave Bogan Sr.
4PILOT II, Brooklyn, NY – 1932 This 1932 advertising postcard shows Captain Harry Phillip's first "PILOT II" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY. In 1930, Ernest Fiedler of Bergen Beach Boat Works built the "PILOT II" in the Mill Basin section of Brooklyn. This 'Skipjack' style party boat was one of the many vessels built for the Sheepshead Bay fleet by Bergen Beach Boat Works. In 1937, Captain Harry Phillips again turned to Ernest Fiedler to build a second "PILOT II", and the first vessel became the "DOLPHIN". Postcard courtesy of Captain Tony 'Mo' Barbato.
5SACHEM, Brooklyn, NY – 1932 The "SACHEM" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY makes her debut in this very first advertising postcard produced during her initial fishing season in 1932. The inset displays a very young Captain Jacob 'Jake' Martin who was her proud owner and operator. In 1902, the Pusey and Jones Corporation built the steel-hulled vessel for Mr. J. Rogers Maxwell as the luxury yacht "CELT". Mr. Manton B. Metcalf later purchased the vessel and renamed her as the "SACHEM". The US Navy acquired the "SACHEM" from Mr. Metcalf in July 1917 for service during World War I and renamed her as the "USS SACHEM" ("SP-192").
During her wartime duties, the Navy assigned her to Thomas A. Edison, who conducted experimental communications work while on secret cruises to the Caribbean. She later operated as a harbor patrol craft in the Third Naval District until the US Navy returned her to Mr. Metcalf in February 1919. Mr. Metcalf later sold the vessel to Philadelphia banker Roland L. Taylor, and in 1932, Mr. Taylor sold her to Captain Jacob 'Jake' Martin. She became one of many yachts purchased at low-cost during the Great Depression and converted to a party fishing boat.
6SACHEM, Brooklyn, NY – 1932 The "SACHEM" is shown underway at 'full steam' in this spectacular photo. In the midst of the 'Great Depression', Captain Jacob 'Jake' Martin and several other savvy party boat captains capitalized on the poor economy. During this period, many beautiful private yachts once owned by the rich and famous were being sold for a fraction of their original cost, and would soon be operating as party fishing boats from several local ports.
During these hard financial times, fishing was still a recreation for some folks, but a absolute necessity for others. With a $2.00 fare and huge fishing pools aboard these vessels, an angler could feed his family (and even the neighbors) with fresh fish, and have a chance at winning a boat pool that was often well over $100. The fishing was very good and the party boat industry flourished while most other businesses suffered.
Besides offering daily local fishing trips, the "SACHEM" was one of the many steam yachts that often sailed from Sheepshead Bay to the fishing grounds off Atlantic City, NJ. The fare for these special trips was about $5.00; they departed at 12:00 midnight and returned late in the afternoon of the same day. Massive catches of Black Sea Bass and Porgies were the norm on these trips, which made spending the few extra bucks a very good investment. Photo courtesy of Captain John Bogan Jr.
7BLACK GOLD, Cape May, NJ – 1933 Captain George Williams' "BLACK GOLD" from Cape May, NJ circa 1933. She was built in 1924 at West Norfolk, VA. Her advertising was as follows... "For a good Day's Fishing. Leaves Cape May daily for the fishing banks on the arrival of the Reading Railroad Excursion Train. Lines, Bait and Baskets on Boat."
8CAPT. JOE II, Brooklyn, NY – 1933 Captain Joseph 'Archie' Buckner's "CAPT. JOE II" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1933. Built in 1899 at East Boothbay, ME as the sailing sloop "ALBION", she first sailed as a party fishing boat from the end of Woodcleft Canal at Freeport, NY under the command of Captain Joseph Raynor who named her the "CAPT. JOE II".
Captain 'Archie' Buckner was a legendary party boat captain and one of the true 'Wreck Masters' of the era. Before coming to Sheepshead Bay, Captain Buckner worked aboard the deep sea fishing steamboat ‘TAURUS" as a Fishing Pilot. (A Fishing Pilot was not the Captain, but was responsible for directing the Captain how to navigate the vessel over prime (and often secret) fishing bottom and wrecks.)
In 1913, Captain Buckner left the "TAURUS" to join his good friend Captain Fred Wrege at Sheepshead Bay. Captain Buckner became the Captain and part owner of the "M.J.R. II" along with Captain Wrege during his first years at Sheepshead Bay. In 1919, he purchased the "CAPT. JOE II" from Captain Joseph Raynor and began his own party boat business. Captain 'Artie' Wickberg purchased the "CAPT. JOE II" from Captain Buckner in 1941 when he retired due to illness. She was later appropriated by the federal government and operated as a 'Scout Patrol' vessel, and then sank in 1943 off the Massachusetts coast. Postcard courtesy of Captain Tony 'Mo' Barbato.
9COMANCHE, Brooklyn, NY – 1933 Captain Lou Dodge's COMANCHE from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1933. Built in 1914 at Bellmore, NY, she first sailed from the Brooklyn Piers for one season before relocating to Canarsie, Brooklyn.
Captain Joe Moravoc purchased the "COMANCHE" in 1922 and relocated her to Sheepshead Bay. When he built the "COMANCHE II" in 1931, Captain Moravoc sold the "COMANCHE" to Captain Lou Dodge, who continued to sail her from Sheepshead Bay until the end of World War II. Afterwards, she became the commercial fishing boat "ELIZABETH III". The boat was dismantled in 1946. On a side note, Captain Lou Dodge‘s actual name was Louis Dethloff. Postcard courtesy of Captain Tony 'Mo' Barbato.
10FISHER, Brooklyn, New York – 1933 The "FISHER", skippered by Captain Frank Swartzbach, is seen here pulling into her pier along Sheepshead Bay's Emmons Avenue in July of 1933. In the background is Captain Joe Moravec's "COMANCHE II". The "FISHER" was built in 1927 at Brooklyn, NY and at the time she was the largest vessel from Sheepshead Bay built specifically for party boat fishing. In 1949, she was sold to Captain Jackie Michaels and she continued to sail from Sheepshead Bay as his "AMERICA". She later sailed for one season as Captain Walter Zirkle's "BROOKLYN" and later as Captains "Red" Tanfield and Jerry Nappi's "CAPT. RED".
11FLYING D, Brooklyn, NY – 1933 The "FLYING D" at Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1933. At the time, she was owned and operated by Captains John and Frank Knuth. She was built 1898 at Long Island City, NY as a sailing sloop. She later became the "AMERICA" from Sheepshead Bay.
12GLORY, Brooklyn, NY / Miami, FL – 1933 This 1933 advertising postcard shows the "GLORY" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY when she was sailing from Miami, Florida during the winter season. Captain Jacob 'Chubby' Martin was at the helm. Postcard courtesy of Captain Tony 'Mo' Barbato.
13GLORY and SYLPH, Brooklyn, NY – 1933 The converted yachts "GLORY" and "SYLPH" are captured in this photo while steaming back to Sheepshead Bay from an 'Atlantic City Special' fishing trip in 1933. The "GLORY" was operated by Captain Jacob 'Chubby' Martin, and was built in 1896 at Weymouth, MA as the yacht "INDOLENT". Captain John Nugent operated the "SYLPH" and John Roach & Co., Chester, PA, built her in 1898. The "SYLPH" originally served as a Presidential Yacht; the US Navy commissioned her on August 18, 1898 at the Norfolk Navy Yard. She served in this capacity for Presidents McKinley (1898-1901), Roosevelt (1901-1909), Taft (1909-1913) and Wilson (1913-1921). In 1921, the Navy re-designated her as Patrol Yacht "PY-5" and she sailed on the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers. She joined the Sheepshead Bay fishing fleet shortly after the Navy decommissioned her in April 1929. Photo courtesy of Captain John Bogan Jr.
14HELEN, Brooklyn, NY – 1933 Judging by her design and speed, the "HELEN" appears to be a former 'rum runner'. Notice the low forward 'trunk cabin' wheelhouse. Many 'rum runners' were built with a low profile so they wouldn't be detected against the backdrop of the shoreline while operating in the dark. As her banner proclaims, the "HELEN" sailed from Brady's Dock at 8:00 AM and picked up additional fares in Sheepshead Bay at 9:00 AM. She was operated by Captain William Mertineit. Photo courtesy of Captain John Bogan Jr.
15ONLEY, Atlantic City, NJ – 1933 A 1933 postcard for Captain Elwood Starn's fishing boat "ONLEY" from Atlantic City, NJ. Built in 1904 at Pocomoke City, MD, she first sailed (literally) as a party boat from Angelsea, NJ (later known as Wildwood, NJ). In 1930, Captain Starn purchased the boat and relocated her to Atlantic City.
16PALACE, Hoboken, NJ – 1933 The "PALACE" was a steel-hulled vessel originally built in 1899 as the luxury steam yacht "IDALIA". Under the command of Captain Edward Baletti, she sailed from the 15th Street Pier at Hoboken, NJ and then made a stop at Battery Park, NY to pick up additional anglers before heading to the fishing grounds. She was the fastest party boat in the fleet during this era. She often reached her top speed (said to have been 19 knots) during ad hoc boat races while on the way to the fishing grounds. After snapping propeller shafts on three separate occasions while racing, Captain Baletti decided to operate the "PALACE" at a more leisurely pace.
Acquired in 1942 by the US government for the war effort, the "PALACE" became the costal patrol vessel "PYC-33". Later that same year, she was reclassified and renamed the "YAG-13", and was assigned to the Commander-In-Chief Atlantic for duty with the Sound School at Key West, FL. She served the training command until transferred to Service Squadron 1 in October 1943 and operated out of Key West, FL as a miscellaneous auxiliary vessel until reassigned to the 5th Naval District.
In June 1944, the Navy decommissioned and returned the boat to Captain Baletti, but her deteriorated condition made her unsuitable for carrying passengers for hire. As compensation, the government provided Captain Baletti with a surplus World War II Sub Chaser. On September 9, 1944, the "PALACE" was towed to the Virginia coast for use as a practice target vessel. Once on station, the US Navy Light Cruiser "VICKSBURG" promptly sank her with cannon fire. Photo courtesy of Phil Castellano.
17PILOT II, Brooklyn, New York – 1933 Captain Harry Phillip's "PILOT II" is seen here alongside her pier at Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY after returning from a daily fishing trip in July of 1933.
In the late 19th century and early 20th century, men and women often wore hats when out of doors, even on a fishing trip. For men, the 'skimmer' or 'boater' straw hat was the formal hat for summer wear. So it was correctly worn either with a blazer or a suit plus a shirt with necktie, ascot or bow tie. Informal men's summer garb included hats such as Fedoras, flat caps and "Charlie Chan" Optimo Panama hats with anything from coveralls to long sleeved shirts and slacks with cuffs and creases.
For women, large hats with wide brims and broad hats with face-shadowing brims were the norm year-round, but they also wore skimmers in the summer. Tunic blouses and full skirts with a loose and softly defined waistline or full length, long-sleeved dresses with V-neck necklines were the go-to summer garb of the time. At the time, there was a civility and graciousness to life and when you went out and about, you dressed up.
18ANGLER, Brooklyn, NY – 1934 The "ANGLER" was originally built in 1898 at the Crescent Shipyard, Elizabeth, NJ, as the luxury steam yacht "ELREBA". She began sailing as a party boat in 1926 when she was purchased by Captain H. J. Wheeler. He renamed her the "ANGLER" and she sailed daily from the Battery in Manhattan, NY. In 1928 Captain Wheeler sold her to Captain Fred Plage and she relocated to Sheepshead Bay (as depicted in this 1934 advertising postcard.) Postcard courtesy of Captain Tony 'Mo' Barbato.
19FIDUS II, Brooklyn, NY – 1934 Captain Steve Wischerth's "FIDUS II" from Canarsie, Brooklyn, NY was another converted luxury steam yacht to join the party boat fleet during the Great Depression. This 140 foot steel-hulled yacht was built in 1906 as the "ALONDRA". She was owned by millionaire radio manufacturer A. Atwater Kent before Captain Wischerth purchased her in the spring of 1932. The boat underwent her conversion to a party fishing boat at Petersen's Boatyard at Gravesend Bay, Brooklyn, NY, where her wine cellar, safe, grand piano, and chandeliers were removed to prepare her for her new fishing duties. Postcard courtesy of Captain Tony 'Mo' Barbato.
20FLYING D II, Brooklyn, NY – 1934 Captain Frank Knuth's "FLYING D II" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY was built in 1934 by Bergen Beach Boat Works, located in the Mill Basin section of Brooklyn, NY. Ernest Fiedler was the proprietor of Bergen Beach Boat Works and he built many of the 45-foot party boats that sailed from New York and New Jersey during the 1930s and 1940s. Photo courtesy of Captain Tony 'Mo' Barbato.
21GIRALDA, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY – 1934 Captain Dave Martin's "GIRALDA" from Pier 6, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1934. The "GIRALDA" was built in 1896 by James M. Baylis & Son at Port Jefferson, NY as a luxury yacht. Captain Martin purchased her in 1914 and converted into a party fishing boat. As noted on this advertising postcard, Captain Dave Martin indeed was a pioneer of offshore wreck fishing.
22GLORY, Brooklyn, NY – 1934 This 1934 advertising postcard depicts a young Captain Jacob 'Chubby' Martin Jr. as the master of the "GLORY" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY. In 1932, soon after Captain Jacob 'Jake' Martin Sr. purchased the "SACHEM", he turned the helm of the "GLORY" over to his son. She was one of the last old-time boats with direct reverse gearing, meaning you had to stop and restart the engine so it spins in the other direction to get reverse thrust. When they reversed the engine, she would blow perfect smoke rings out of the exhaust funnel. In 1971, Captain Martin sold the "GLORY" to Captain John O'Leary. She ran aground at Sea Bright, NJ in June 1975 and was destroyed.
23ILSE III, New Rochelle, NY – 1934 A 1934 postcard for Captain Charles Simpson’s "ILSE III". She sailed from Hudson Park, New Rochelle, NY and was built in 1905 at Baltimore, MD.
24NANCY B, Brooklyn, NY – 1934 The "NANCY B" was built in 1910 at Stratford, CT and was originally owned by Captain Charles Burton who sailed her from the Canarsie section of Brooklyn, NY. Captain Axel Lyons later purchased the "NANCY B" and continued to operate her from Canarsie. In 1922, Captain Lyons relocated the "NANCY B" to Manhattan, and in 1925, he moved to Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY. Captain Lyons was a member of the Sheepshead Bay Boat Owners Association (S.B.B.O.A.) and you can see the Association's pennant proudly flown on the jack staff. Photo courtesy of Phil Nuss.
25NAUTILUS II, Brooklyn, NY – 1934 Captain Frank Stefano's "NAUTILUS II" from Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1934. At the time, the boat departed daily from Pier 4. The "NAUTILUS II" was built in 1929 at Gerritsen Beach, NY and originally sailed under the command of Captain Joe Stefano until he died in 1933 and his son Frank took over the helm. Later, she was sold to Captain Tom De Fina who continued to sail her from Sheepshead Bay.
In 1969, she was sold to Captain Franklin Hammer who renamed her "WHITBY". Subsequently, she was the last vessel to sail under the "WHITBY" name from Sheepshead Bay until 1975 when she relocated to Chicago and operated on the Great Lakes. In 1980 she was again sold to a private owner who relocated her to Key West, Florida. Alas she was dropped from documentation in 2007 and her fate is unknown.
26SACHEM, Brooklyn, NY – 1934 Captain Jake Martin’s steam powered party boat "SACHEM" from Pier 9, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1934. The Pusey and Jones Corporation built her in 1902 for Mr. J. Rogers Maxwell as the steel-hulled luxury yacht "CELT". Mr. Manton B. Metcalf later purchased her and renamed her as the "SACHEM". The US Navy acquired the "SACHEM" from Mr. Metcalf in July 1917 for service during World War I and renamed her as the "USS SACHEM" (SP-192). During her wartime duties, the Navy assigned her to Thomas A. Edison, who conducted experimental ocean communications work during secret cruises to the Caribbean. She later operated as a harbor patrol craft in the Third Naval District until the US Navy returned her to Mr. Metcalf in February 1919. Mr. Metcalf later sold her to Philadelphia banker Roland L. Taylor.
In 1932, Mr. Taylor sold her to Captain Jacob 'Jake' Martin and she would become one of many yachts purchased during the Great Depression and converted to a party fishing boat. She made regular trips to the fishing grounds off Atlantic City, NJ. Their advertisements ask you to "See the NY Daily News and NY American newspapers for daily sailings or telephone Sheepshead 3-3985". In 1936, Captain Martin replaced her coal-fired boiler with a 750 HP Fairbanks-Morse diesel engine. While the new diesel was more convenient to operate, her speed dropped to 12 knots (she could make 15 knots when she was steam powered.)
The "SACHEM" sailed as a party boat until the start of World War II when the federal government appropriated her (a second time) for the then tidy sum of $65,000. The US Navy again converted her to an armed yacht and used her to patrol the waters off the Florida Keys under the name "PHENAKITE". At the end of the war, the US Navy returned the "SACHEM" to Captain Martin, who promptly sold her to the Circle Line in New York City. She was modified to carry 492 passengers on two decks and renamed the "SIGHTSEER" (she later became the "CIRCLELINE SIGHTSEER" and "CIRCLE LINE V"); and ran sightseeing trips around Manhattan. She was the flagship of the Circle Line fleet and their fastest vessel. At the end of her life, she was stripped of all of her fine mahogany millwork and brass fittings; and was dismantled in 1984.
27SEA PIGEON II, Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY – 1934 Captain 'Lucky' Steve Onody's brand new 47-foot "SEA PIGEON II" sailing from Pier 2 at Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, NY circa 1934. She was built in 1934 at the Scott McBurney Boat Yard in Brooklyn, NY. In 1945, Captain Onody sold the "SEA PIGEON II" to Captain 'Willy' Sutherland, who later sold the boat to Captain 'Heckey' Sackstein. In 1967, Captain Sackstein sold her to Captain Irving Moss who renamed her "DIXIE" and continued to sail her from Sheepshead Bay.
28AMPHION, New York, NY – 1935 Watch your step! The "AMPHION" is seen here at her berth alongside the West 40th Street Pier in Manhattan in 1935. She was operated by Captain Nick Napoli and Captain John Almerigotti. The "AMPHION" was built 1901 at Bridgeton, CT.
29BRIELLE FLEET, Brielle, NJ – 1935 This 1935 photo shows how the Brielle party boat fleet and docks appeared a few years after the opening of the Manasquan Inlet in 1931 and the Brielle fishing fleet was established. Visible in the center of the photo is the "DIANA". Off her stern, from right to left, are the "PARAMOUNT", "LOUNGER" and "DOLPHIN". Note the vintage automobiles in the parking lot and the dirt road running along the bulkhead.
302016 Holiday Edition – ATLANTIC, Freeport, New York – 1935 Captain Abraham "Abe" Stenzel and Captain Thomas Carman's "ATLANTIC" from Freeport, New York. She was built in 1934 at Brookhaven, NY and was what boatmen at the time commonly referred to as a "sailing hull' style party boat. She was sold in 1952 to Captain Carl Forsberg who continued to sail her under the "ATLANTIC" name from Montauk, NY. At the time, the "ATLANTIC" was the only vessel in the Viking Fleet not to bear a VIKING name (she was finally renamed as the "VIKING" in 1956.) In 1962, the boat was sold and relocated to Portland, Maine and continued to sail as the "VIKING". Her present fate is unknown.