M/V Air Swift, sister ship to M/V Air Pheasant served Eleuthera from Nassau 1940s onward

A wonderful, detailed image of the AIR SWIFT under way, from all appearances leaving or arriving in Nassau Harbour, compliments of author Dave Gale of Island Marine in Abaco. The photo is originally distributed by the Bahamas Development Board, dating it pre-1973 and probably from the late 1960s. From the fact that it appears to have live shrubbery on the bows and fenders down in anticipation of docking, plus a passenger patiently waiting amidships on the port side and lines and line handlers ready, it would seem the boat is about to dock. 

PAST NAMES: USS SC-1340 (18 Sept. 1943 to 30 Oct., 1945), USCGC WAVR 471 Air Swift (30 Oct. 1945 to 19 Jan. 1948)
DIMENSIONS: 110’10” long, 17′ wide, 6.5′ deep, 21 knots, 2 diesel engines, 2 propellers, 134 tons, Official # 191548

YEAR BUILT: keel laid 7 Nov. 1942, launched 18 Sept. 1943, commissioned 4 Dec., 1943
BUILDER: Walter E. Abrams Shipyards, Thomas Knutson Shipbuilding Corp., Halesite, Long Island, New York, USA 
EARLY CAREER: After the US Navy and US Coast Guard put on the Nassau-Eleuthera mail run
BAHAMAS CAREER: Nassau – Eleuthera mail run before the Bahama Daybreak and past 1950
CAPTAINS: not known
FATE: in May 2014 reader Jeff Albury wrote that the Air Swift was lost off Six Shilling Channel, between Current Island and Rose Island, which connect New Providence and Eleuthera. Date and circumstances not known, but he said his dad showed him wreckage when they were conching in the channel years ago.
OWNERS: not known, presumably Nassau or Eleuthera business interests
Here is a reference to a number of mail boats in 1964, including the Air Swift, from Benedict Thielen, author of an article entitled “The Bahamas – Golden Archipelago”, published in Holiday December 1964, pp. 62- 73, 135-140, from the blog “Bahamian Fragments – Bits and Pieces of Bahamian History”.
“Among the sloops are the mail boats, high-sided, clumsy and fancifully colored as a child’s drawing. They carry cargoes of rum and beer, oil drums and tractors, crayfish pots, cows and sometimes grand pianos. The Air Swift has come from Eleuthera, the Lady Dundas from Cat Island. The Church Bay is bound north for Grand Bahama, the Drake far south to Rum Cay and San Salvador. Coming and going, they and others like them call at little settlements like Palmetto Point and Eight Mile Rock, Savannah Sound and Castle Island, Pleasant By and Pure Gold.”

This rare photo of the “Air Swift” shows the boat with passengers and cargo serving Eleuthera in the 1960’s. The photo is from the Nassau “Tribune” and is captioned “The Air Swift traveled between Nassau and Eleuthera in the 1960s.” It is from an article by historian Jim Lawlor from the series “Writing to Remember” of August 31, 2013. The title is “Chapter 6 Continued: Hurricane Betsy 1965”. It is an excerpt from a book entitled “Paul Albury: A Man and His Writings,” by Jim and Anne Lawlor, his wife and Albury’s daughter. 

Submarine chaser similar or identical to the SC 1340 which became the Bahamas mail boat Air Swift.
Photo source: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Poet-Ferlinghetti-chased-subs-in-WWII-2484205.php

Source: http://www.jabezcorner.com/grand_bahama/golden1.htm

According to Sharon Farquarson in “The Journey – An Eleutheran Experience,” “Air Swift was the local mail boat” before the Bahama Daybreak. p. 159