Oral History: Charles Cushing, naval architect

Charles Cushing helped rescue the MARY WHALEN in 1968

Hear notable marine engineer and architect Dr. Charles R. Cushing talk about the rescue of the MARY A. WHALEN.  Cushing has played a significant role in maritime history during 60+ years, including being one of the architects of containerization.

In 1968 he founded his own firm, C. R. Cushing & Co., an international firm of naval architects and marine engineers (still going strong today). One of his first jobs has had lasting repercussions – helping to free the MARY A. WHALEN when she went aground off the Rockaways just before Christmas, 1968.

In order to assess her condition and figure ways to free her, Cushing clambered across the jetty and onto the Whalen. He recalls that “we started doing calculations to see whether it was feasible to trim the vessel or put a heel on the vessel to get it off the bottom, and things like that. So there were a lot of hydrostatic caculations beng done – by hand, with slide rules.” 

PortSide’s Jenny Kane interviewed Cushing about that job, at his offices nearly 50 years later.

Charles R. Cushing - part 1:
Charles R. Cushing - part 2:

Photo of the MARY’s famous grounding in 1968 which resulted in the significant 1975 Supreme Court ruling U.S. vs Reliable Transfer.

Follow this link for a curated compendium of MARY A. WHALEN stories



Audio File 1

View File Details Page

Audio File 2

View File Details Page

Item Relations

This Item is related to Item: Thanks to our ship MARY WHALEN, a 1975 Supreme Court Ruling
This Item is related to Item: The MARY A. WHALEN

Related Tour

Share this Item