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On board the bark Eagle

Boaters don't need to enlist to experience being aboard Coast Guard tall ship Eagle. They can experience it from the comfort of their living room.

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"USCGC Eagle" ($22, Lighthouse Productions, 2010) is a DVD documentary produced and directed by David Wittkower that follows the crew of Eagle and its training aboard the stout vessel that was christened by the German navy and seized as a war prize by the United States after World War II.

Filmed during the course of nearly two years, viewers can witness how 600 new officer cadets are trained every year as they climb rigging 130 feet, practice flood control, firefighting, navigation, man-overboard and first-aid procedures.

Wittkower also interviews some of the men and women in training to hear their stories and why they chose to train so hard to be in the Coast Guard. This documentary won a silver award in the Honolulu International Film Festival for excellence in filmmaking.

Wittkower grew up in Rockport, Mass., and currently lives in Los Angeles. He is also the director of the documentary "Cowboy Up: Inside the Extreme World of Bull Riding," "Rodeo Combat," "Turn & Burn: Inside the World of Barrel Racing," and "Challenge of Champions." For information, visit

This article originally appeared in the Home Waters section of the December 2010 issue.