SSHSA Awards
Steamship Historical Society of America Annual Awards

SSHSA presents awards to people and organizations who have contributed to the society, or to causes similar to our mission in preserving and sharing maritime heritage. Want to nominate someone for an award? Click here for the 2021 nomination form.

Ship of the Year Award is in recognition of a significant milestone or any other accomplishment contributing to the historical importance of the engine-powered vessel. This award encompasses specific distinctions for tugs and museum vessels.

Jay Allen Award for Distinguished Editorial Service is in recognition of an individual who has made important contributions to SSHSA's official magazine, PowerShips.

C. Bradford Mitchell Award is bestowed upon an individual, institution or agency in recognition of a single achievement, such as an important book, or founding of an institution contributing to the goals, objectives and mission of the Steamship Historical Society of America.

Samuel Ward Stanton Award for Lifetime Achievement recognizes the accumulated value of on-going work over a lifetime in our areas of concern.

SSHSA Current Award Winners

Ship of the Year - Cape Henlopen

The Cape Henlopen has the honor of being one of the oldest operating ferries in the world and one of the few ships who served in World War II still in active service.

Her work in the war was varied, but one of the highlights was participating in the invasion of Normandy on D-Day, dropping off 200 men and 70 vehicles of the 29th Infantry Division and taking on wounded men for treatment. She worked throughout the war transporting troops and vehicles eastward and casualties westward across the English Channel, though bad luck saw her needing repairs following collisions with other ships and underwater obstructions. She was being prepared for the Pacific Theater when Japan surrendered, and earned one battle star for her World War II service.
After a period of inactivity, she was decommissioned and sold to the Chesapeake Bay Ferry District of Norfolk, Virginia, where she began a second career. Over the last several decades, she has operated between Lewes, Delaware, and Cape May, New Jersey, for the Delaware River and Bay Authority, and currently between New London, Connecticut, and Orient Point, New York, for Cross Sound Ferry Services.

Tugboat of the Year - W.O. Decker

The W.O. Decker is the last surviving New York-built wooden tugboat. Constructed in 1930 by the Newtown Creek Towing Company as the Russell I, she was renamed W.O. Decker in 1946 after being sold to the Decker family’s Staten Island tugboat firm. Originally under steam power, she was donated to the South Street Seaport Museum in 1986 and refit with a diesel engine. She is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is an exemplary model of the types of steam tugs that were once an abundant sight in New York Harbor. She underwent an overhaul in 2018 and was restored thanks to public, private and volunteer support.


Museum Ship of the Year - City of Milwaukee

The SS City of Milwaukee is a Great Lakes railroad car ferry that once plied Lake Michigan, often between Muskegon, Michigan, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She was built for the Grand Trunk Milwaukee Car Ferry Company in 1931 at Manitowoc, Wisconsin to replace SS Milwaukee, which sank on October 22, 1929. She has a carrying capacity of 28–32 fully loaded rail cars and was powered by four Scotch marine boilers.

She steamed for Grand Trunk until 1978 and then chartered to the Ann Arbor Railroad until she was retired permanently in 1982. She is currently preserved in Manistee, Michigan, as a National Historic Landmark museum and bed and breakfast, and represents the last unmodified traditional railroad car ferry afloat upon the lakes, still with her triple expansion steam engine, original woodwork and brass fixtures.

Jay Allen Award for Editorial Service - Terry Tilton and David Boone

CAPT Terry Tilton USN (Ret.) grew up on a farm in Iowa, but as a young man he longed for the sea. He attended and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, serving 25 years as a Naval Officer and completing a career qualified to command any ship in the Navy. He is a researcher and author of several feature-length articles in PowerShips, most notably his extensive compilations on companies such as Ingalls Shipbuilding. He is also an active participant as researcher, author, speaker, and officer in the Southern California Chapter of SSHSA.

David Boone of New Jersey has been the editor of our Tugboat column since the Summer 2006 issue of Steamboat Bill. He began sketching ships and tugboats at an early age and, in 1960, he traded a “crude poster color painting” for a ride on the Curtis Bay Towing Company’s Reedy Point. During the 1960s he rode a number of tugs and painted many maritime scenes before joining Curtis Bay’s Philadelphia operations in 1971 as a dispatcher. He rose through the ranks and became Operations Manager in 1992. He retired in 1999 to work as a full-time maritime artist, painting tugs and other types of vessels.

H. Graham Wood Award for Distinguished Service to SSHSA - Andy Lizak

Andy Lizak has been a member of SSHSA for more than 50 years, much of that as an active member of the Southern New England Chapter. He served as corresponding secretary, program chairman and chapter chairman in addition to giving many presentations related to the Fall River Line. He has also volunteered at the Ship History Center for the last several years sorting and filing a massive quantity of maritime brochures and sailing schedules.


Samuel Ward Stanton Award for Lifetime Achievement - Jim McNamara

CAPT James McNamara is a 1964 graduate of New York State Maritime College, earning a bachelor's degree in maritime transportation. He joined SSHSA as a student and is a lifetime member who has received awards for his work as chief surveyor in cities all over the country, including the U.S. Coast Guard Meritorious Public Service Award and the U.S. Coast Guard Distinguished Public Service Award. He was inducted into the International Maritime Hall of Fame at the United Nations in New York in 2007 and served as Chairman of the Marine Section of the National Safety Council from 1987 to 1988. Since 1999, McNamara has been chairman of the Maritime Industry Museum at Fort Schuyler, New York. He has also served several terms on the SSHSA Board of Directors.

C. Bradford Mitchell Award - Hilary Russell Jr. for Tugboats and Shipyards: The Russells of NY Harbor 1844-1962

This book chronicles the life and times of Arthur Russell, his sons and his grandsons in their various maritime businesses – sail lightering, tugboats, barges and ship building. The book also contains genealogies of four generations of Russells, as well as stories remembered and retold by various tugboat captains and their wives and daughters. Hilary Russell taught at Berkshire School in Sheffield for many years, and now directs the Berkshire Boat Building School and teaches at WoodenBoat School in Brooklin, Maine; Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Waitsfield, Vermont; the Riverport Wooden Boat School in Kingston, New York; and at his shop in Sheffield.

SSHSA Past Award Winners

SSHSA Awards 2019

Ship of the Year - Queen Elizabeth 2

SSHSA Awards 2018

Board Service - Mary L. Payne

SSHSA Awards 2017

Ship of the Year - SS Columbia
C. Bradford Mitchell Award - CAPT Brian McAllister
Samuel Ward Stanton Award for Lifetime Achievement - Mr. Ocean Liner, Bill Miller

View award winners 2016-2015