There appear to be three “Betty K” ships in this photo from the Kelly / Betty K website, and there is no certainty that the original Betty K is among them. However the vintage of the cars seems late 1940s to early 1950s and it is possible their original ship, built 1938, is among them. In any event the image depicts the early Betty K fleet at their terminus in Nassau, the Kelly Lumber Yard.
MAILBOAT NAME: M/V Betty K (II, 1944 built)
PAST NAMES: none – see below for numerous future names
DIMENSIONS: 579 tons, capacity 750 tons in summer
CONSTRUCTION: by United Concrete Pipe Co, Los Angeles CA, official # 5043588YEAR BUILT: 1944 – delivered 30 November 1943, yard # 104
Of “the two little boats,” the 116-ton Ena K, built in 1927, could carry a dozen passengers and that January carried 15-year old Sidney Poitier to Miami to live with his older brother. A round trip in the Ena K cost $17.50, compared to $24.50 in the New Northland before the war. In the spring of 1942 the Ena K celebrated her 1,000th crossing to Miami. The other was the 164-ton Betty K, built in 1938. The “motor boats,” as the Duchess called them, offered sailings every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday in each direction between Nassau and Miami. Before the war, they had sailed from Miami at Noon and from Nassau at 2 pm but now they moved back and forth as cargo offered.
The vessels were named after the two daughters of Trevor Kelly, owner of the Kelly Lumber Company, who had started the service in 1920. The Miami agents were Saunders & Mader, who had also represented the Queen of Nassau and a number of other small ships in this service, and Nassau agents were Albury & Company. More than eighty years later, Betty K Agencies Ltd of Nassau would introduce the sixth and seventh ships of that name, the 1,457-ton Betty K VI in 2004 and 2,028-ton Betty K VII in 2006.”