Historic Ship Departs Wilmington For The Last Time, Leaving Behind Years Of Stories And Memories | Old North State Wealth News
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Historic ship departs Wilmington for the last time, leaving behind years of stories and memories

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A piece of Wilmington history has left the Port City after nearly 50 years of service.

This past Sunday, the Captain J.N. Maffitt made its way down the Cape Fear River for the last time, destination: Brooklyn, New York.

The Maffitt had served as a water taxi and charter boat for Cape Fear River Boats for more than 30 years, a constant sight alongside her fleet mate, the Henrietta.

Carl Marshburn owned Cape Fear River Boats before selling it last year.

He said the Maffitt was a special ship that won’t ever be replicated.

“She was one of the oldest running certified passenger boats in the country,” Marshburn said. “And she’s a very unique boat, very efficient boat. Had lines on a boat that you just, you don’t see them like that anymore. And the construction on it was from a different time.”

“You’re not supposed to fall in love with boats but it happens, especially if you’re working with a boat like the Maffitt.”

The Maffitt was built in 1944, beginning life as a liberty launch ship, used by the US Navy off ships like the Battleship North Carolina to take sailors to land when they had shore leave.

She was named after Captain John Newland Maffitt, a Confederate blockade runner, who surveyed the Cape Fear River before he joined the Confederacy.

Former captain George Schutt said the Maffitt will always hold a special place in his heart.

“That was some of the happiest times I ever spent on the river here and I’m a native Wilmingtonian,” Schutt said. “What can I say, just, it was something that meant a lot to me.”

Marshburn said he hopes the Maffitt continues operating for many years to come, as wooden boats like her will last longer in the north.



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