M/V Captain Dean, built 1951, first of a long series serving Abaco

M/V Captain Dean, built in 1949 by Capt. Ernest Dean of Sandy Point, Abaco

Source: “Island Captain, The Autobiography of Mail Boat Captain Ernest Dean of Sandy Point, Abaco, Bahamas,” with Gary W. Woodcock, White Sound Press, Decatur Illinois, 1997 p.106


DIMENSIONS: 40 feet on deck, 30 feet on keel, 15 foot beam, 5 foot draft, Perkins diesel installed by Bill Minns of nassau
CONSTRUCTION: built by hand in Sandy Point Abaco, wooden hull, from wood gathered by Soldier’s Road by Hole-in-the-Wall Light, Great Abaco.
YEAR BUILT: 1949 to February 1951 – it took 2 years to build without elecricity
EARLY CAREER: carrying crawfish and fish to market in Nassau from Abaco etc.
BAHAMAS CAREER: first in the crawfish, then the mailboat trade from Nassau to the Berry Islands, Sweeting’s Cay (Grand Bahama), Mores Island and Sandy Point, Abaco
CAPTAINS: Capt. Ernest Dean, Captain James Dean (once it reverted to crawfish)
FATE: after carrying the mails replaced by the Margaret Rose, went to crawfishing. In 1993 Capt. Dean recognized here at Potters Cay carrying fish for an owner in Current, Eleuthera. 
OWNERS: Captain Ernest Alexander Dean, Sandy Point Abaco

The information on this entry and others about Captain Ernest Dean’s many mailboats comes from the book “Island Captain: The Autobiography of Mail Boat Captain Ernest Dean of Sandy Point, Abaco, Bahamas.” It is by Captain Ernest Alexander Dean with Gary W. Woodcock and published by White Sound Press of Decatur, Illinois, in 1997. 
Chapter 6, “Mail Boat Captain,” page 50, is the source of most of this material. 

He writes: “In November of 1951 the opportunity came for me to start the mail service under government contract to Sandy Point and Mores Island…. [While fishing] almost every time I was in port I would stop by the Colonial Secretary’s office and make another inquiry…. I had come in to ask about the mail service to Sandy Point and Mores Island so many times that he thought I was really serious. He said he would give me the job if my boat would pass inspection. That was no problem whatsoever.

….The following week I made the first scheduled mail run from Nassau to Sandy Point and Mores Island and back under official government contract. The people were very happy that they finally had a regular mail service that they could depend on….

….My contract said I had to make only one round trip each week, so I could set my own schedule. My first schedule had a departure from Nassau on Wednesday evening. I would take on freight on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon. Then the passengers would come aboard, and we would sail. If the wind was right, I’d use the sails. Sometimes the boat would go just as fast under sail as with the engine, Other times I’d motorsail her. After I changed engines to the GM, there was enough power that we didn’t have to use the sails. We came to depend on the engine all the time…

[After a while] I changed my schedule and made my first stop at Bullock’s Harbour [Berry Islands] instead of Sandy Point. So now my route was Bullock’s Harbour, Mores Island, Sandy Point and Nassau. This was all with the Captain Dean. [Later he would add Sweeting’s Cay]. …I ran the Captain Dean in the mail service for about two and a half years or so [until about 1954]. Then I bought the Margaret Rose…. ….My eldest son, James, took over the Captain Dean and began in the crawfish business.” 

“Island Captain” pages 51 to 54