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Questions of character

Two high-profile maritime tragedies have left many with a vexing question:

Are captains bound by law to go down with the ship?

Capt. Henrik Kurt Carlsen became a hero in 1952 for his refusal to abandon the Flying Enterprise after a wave cracked the freighter's hull.Lore or law: The captain must go down with the ship? Answer: Lore. How about the master being responsible for his passengers and crew? Answer: law.

“The master’s primary responsibility is the safety of his passengers and crew,” says Richard Dein, a retired Coast Guard officer and expert witness who has worked as a master on passenger ferries and towboats.



Errors in judgment

Responsibility for several recent tragedies rests not only with the captains, but also with the systems that put them in place

Three recent maritime accidents made most of us aware, once again, that going to sea can be a risky business. In fact, the most recent passenger ship accident, in April off South Korea, was the 100th passenger vessel lost since 2002.



Hobie Alter was a surfer, boatbuilder and trendsetter

Alter's Hobie Cat turned a niche sport into a popular pastime.

Hobart "Hobie" Alter was a visionary who revolutionized surfing and sailing. He was in the first class of sailors inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame in 2011, along with such legends as America’s Cup skipper Charlie Barr, yacht designer Nathanael Herreshoff and solo circumnavigator Joshua Slocum.



A life of luxury on the government’s dime

Andrea and Colin A.J. Chisholm III (here in mug shots) bought a $1.2 million Trumpy and lived in luxury homes while collecting welfare, according to authorities.Colin A.J. Chisholm III and his wife, Andrea, aspired to the life of the rich and famous, buying an 83-foot Trumpy motoryacht and living in luxury homes in Minnesota and Florida. Then fraud investigators caught up with them and charged the couple with collecting $167,420 in public assistance from Minnesota and receiving welfare in Florida, as well.



Building boats and shaping lives

PWBF students work in teams, with a daily list of tasks to complete on each boat.Frankford, in the northeast part of Philadelphia, seems an unlikely place to find passionate boatbuilders. Founded by Quakers in 1682, this gritty former manufacturing area on the outskirts of the city now wears a necklace of used-car dealerships, empty factories and low expectations.

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