St. Augustine Shrimp Fleet

St. Augustine Shrimp Fleet


  • St. Augustine Shrimp Fleet

Published Date

  • published 1940


[page 4]

St. Augustine is the center of the Florida shrimp industry because
of its excellent harbor and transportation facilities and its situation on the
Atlantic Ocean. Over $1,200,000 is estimated to be the annual value of
the cargo moving through the port, with a yearly payroll of $483,600 for
the crews. Fuel, ice, and other maintenance purchases bring the total
value of the business to around $1,906,800. One hundred and twenty-
three documented boats with a gross (or combined) tonnage of 2,252 call
St. Augustine their home port.

About 50 of this vast fleet were moored near the Fortuna and
soon the night was broken by lighted cabins and running lights. As the
Fortuna swung into the channel, the other boats followed in her wake,
curtsying in the manner of baby ducks following the mother. Ruby and
emerald running lights bobbing in our wake cast a colorful glow upon the
ripples of the dark river. Brilliant masthead lights, swinging in long arcs,
marked the presence of the fleet drawn out in perfect formation. Acrid
salt breezes wafted from miles of pungent marshes beat through the open
windows of the wheelhouse. Gulls wheeled and screamed their protest
at being awakened, while over all was the flush of dawn peeking through
the fleecy cirrus clouds high above the Atlantic.

In and out among the mud flats and marshes, the shrimp fleet
followed the course of the sluggish San Sebastian, at last entering the
Intracoastal Waterway at the Mantanzas River, and heading north to the