About The Last Day of The Austin

Photographs About Connection and Loss


On Sunday September 18, 2016 my dear friend Chris Carter's father, David Charles Carter, had a stroke from which he wasn't expected to recover.  On Tuesday afternoon September 20th I went to one of my favorite places to photograph, an active boatyard on Channel Drive along the Manasquan Inlet in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ.  A decommissioned commercial trawler, the Austin, was moored there and was being prepped for her sinking, scheduled for the following morning.  I watched the tow company employees at work and talked with the current owner, Bill Ford, whose father had been the previous owner.  Bill started working on the Austin when he was 13.  I decided to document as best I could the Austin's last day, not realizing at the time it would also be Mr. Carter's last day.  All images in this collection were captured that afternoon.

Mr. Carter passed away in the morning on September 21st; the Austin was towed out to sea the same morning to become a part of the Axel Carlson Reef, approximately 4 1/2 miles southeast of the Inlet.  The new reef site (named Shady Reef) is dedicated to the memory of a young local fisherman (John Grady III) who died ten years ago of leukemia.  His friends carved and inscribed a 12-foot walnut cross that they installed on the Austin before her sinking.  The Austin joined her sister ship, the McGinty, which already lies on the Axel Carlson Reef.

Rest in peace, David Charles Carter, 1923 - 2016

Rest in peace, the Austin, 1956 - 2016

"When you lose a boat, you know, it's like losing a human being, a part of your family."  Louis Myklebust, master net maker/mender and retired fishing boat captain, on the recent loss of his son's fishing boat, the Lady Gertrude, named after Louis's mother.