The Mary A Whalen - PortSide NewYork's Flagship

The oil tanker MARY A.WHALEN  is PortSide NewYork's ambassador to the BLUEspace and site of our offices and many programs.  Built for Red Hook's Ira Bushey and Sons, she was launched May 21, 1938 and is significant to area history and national maritime law.

Below are a collection of stories, images and oral histories relating to the Mary A Whalen. 


The oil tanker MARY A. WHALEN was launched May 21, 1938. The ship is PortSide NewYork's ambassador to the BLUEspace and site of our offices and many programs. Why she is significant? She is the the last of her kind in the USA. She is the only oil…

The MARY A WHALEN is a rare surviving example of a bell boat. On a bell boat, the person steering (the captain or the mate) has no direct control over the speed of the engine, nor whether the ship goes forward or in reverse. The engineer, as the…

Alf Dyrland was Captain of the MARY A. WHALEN from her rechristening in 1958 until 1978 when he retired. He was her first captain; she was his last boat. Alf loved the MARY deeply. As he lay dying in 1996, what he said out loud revealed to family in…

One of the first jobs naval architect Charles R. Cushing got, when he started his own firm, was figuring out how to free the MARY A. WHALEN, after she went aground in the Rockaways in 1968. CRCushing& Co went on to become an international firm of…

Gary Shiflett, currently a fleet manager, used to work for Ira S. Bushey and Sons and Eklof Marine. In 2016, while standing in the galley of PortSide NewYork's MARY A. WHALEN-a "Bushey boat" - he told of some of his memories of working on ships. His…

Ira S. Bushey started his work life driving mules on the Erie Canal in the latter half of the Nineteenth Century. By 1895 Bushey began repairing boats, settling up shop in Brooklyn in 1905. His shipyard was located at the foot of Court Street, on the…

PortSide NewYork created this Red Hook WaterStories product. PortSide is a maritime non-profit founded in Red Hook in 2005. Our goal is to create a waterfront center with a landing for boats, a home for the MARY A. WHALEN, and more programs and…

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