At 69, Smith isn’t ready to hang up working in harbor

From the American Journal of Transportation, Sept. 9-22, 2013

Industry profile
By Paul Scott Abbott

For Capt. Whit S. Smith III, Charleston Harbor has been the favored “playground” since growing up sailing boats on its waters in the 1950s, and, with his 70th birthday approaching in February, he has no plans to stop having fun in his roles as president of the Charleston Branch Pilots’ Association and as a board member of the South Carolina State Ports Authority.

In an exclusive interview …

Pilots to be recognized for rescue of four

From the May 10 issue of The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier:

The Coast Guard today will recognize the efforts of two Charleston Pilots crew members in what officials said was a courageous rescue of four people stranded after their boat capsized.

Boat captains John Miles and Frank Witunsky will be presented with the Coast Guard’s Meritorious Public Service Award. The award is the Coast Guard’s second highest for public service and is offered to those individuals who display unusual courage in their assistance, Lt. Tim McNamara said.

The Charleston Branch Pilots Association provides pilots to container, cargo, cruise and military ships that enter and leave the Port of Charleston to prevent shipping accidents.

It was late on March 30 when Miles and Witunsky heard a distress call.

The pair decided to divert their course in the direction of the call, which was about 12 miles off the Charleston Harbor, Miles said.

Luckily, it wasn’t quite dark yet, Miles said, making it easier for them to navigate the choppy waters in their 75-foot vessel.

Video: How Does the Port Work?

We had a blast taking part in this State Ports Authority educational video for elementary and middle school kids in South Carolina.  While it is a simplified version of what happens when a ship is in port, it is a great “behind the scenes” look at the maritime community for all ages.  Our Executive Director John Cameron plays the role of the pilot very well! Please note that for logistics reasons, we filmed his boarding in the harbor, even though the actual boarding occurred, like always, offshore before the ship entered the shipping channel.