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Forum Category: PT Boats of WWII
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Forum Name: PT Boats - General
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Topic: PT 557 WILDWOOD NJ
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All;
Over on Frank's Mosquito Fleet Exhibit facebook page, an interesting conversation has started, with photos that for me has brought NEW light to the tour boats in this area in the 1950s to 1970s.
I always thought PT 486 and an Ex- Air Sea Rescue boat(Big Flamingo owned by CAPT Sinn) were the tour boats in this area.
Gerry McGovern, who recently surveyed PT 486 (SIGHTSEER originally owned by Otto Stocker)in Kingston, has brought new information to us. As a young kid, he hung around these boats and has a valuable insight into these boats. There was also PT 728(also as PT 109 owned by CAPT Sinn) and second ELCO tour boat, PT 557.(as PT 109 owned by CAPT Sinn)!!
I must admit, I thought only PT 486 worked this area and they just repainted her and changed the name. This new evidence that PT 557 was owned by Roy Sinn too, to me is a bombshell.
Gerry, when did PT 557 stop touring? Do you know what happened to her?
Are you sure it was PT 557?
The reason I ask is because I know PT 558 was named PT Joe and worked out of Lewes, Delaware in the late 1960s and 70s. She sunk off Cape Henlopen at Hen and Chicken Shoals in a storm in 1979.
Over the years alot of misinformation has been put out there over the years.This eyewitness info is critical. Thanks for the info Gerry, this is the kind of stuff we need to trace the history of these boats in civilian ownership.
Take care,
TED



Posted By: TED WALTHER | Posted on: Jul 18, 2017 - 8:06am
Total Posts: 3033 | Joined: Oct 16, 2006 - 7:42am



Well, a quick history on what I know from working on the Sightseer (PT-486) from 1979 through 1983 working with and knowing the owners Otto Stocker and Chuck Schumann and their families. The PT-486 was originally purchased by George Sinn with the PT-557.

PT-486 and PT-557 were 80-foot Elco boats. The 486 was placed in service on 2 December 1943. It was the first in the 486 series and was used in the training squadron (MTBRON)4 in Melville, Rhode Island. Recent revealed history also shows that it was used as part of a secret naval operation being converted to PT Drone boats. The operation was cancelled, but not before the boat was stripped of all of her engines, fuel tanks and all aux systems. All that remained was a hull with the original steering system, rudders and shaft logs. At some point, the boat was returned to Ron4. There are great pictures of both boats running up the Hudson River in 1945 for a War Bond drive.

The vessel was stricken from the active list 16 January 1946 with 7 other PT's They were stored at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, NY.

In 1951, PT-557 along with the PT-486 was purchased as a set from BFM Industries (Brooklyn, NY) by Capt. George C. Sinn of Wildwood Crest, NJ on 9 October 1951 for $1,015.00.

The story, (as I heard it from the Stocker family) is the boats went up for sale as surplus. The sale was for both boats. The 486 was stripped down again prior to being sold. George Sinn had a neighbor directly across the street who was (as I heard it) a good friend and fellow mariner Otto Stocker.

George intended to use the 557 for a sightseeing boat ride. Further research has found that the 557 hull was cut back to less than 65'. This was common practice to keep the tonnage down and meet minimal USCG passenger vessel standards of the day.

PT-557:
Gziig.jpg

PT-486:
j7wuH.jpg

Former crew member of the Big Blue Sightseer ex-PT 486

Posted By: mcgovern61 | Posted on: Jul 18, 2017 - 9:19am
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered



The boats are taken to Wildwood Crest, New Jersey where both Sinn and Stocker reside. (Not sure how other than towing down the Jersey coast).

The way the story has been passed down, Sinn only wanted the 557 and was going to scrap the 486. Other than being a hull, there was't much there for the 486. Stocker convinces Sinn to sell him the hull and in 1952, Stocker acquires the 486, adds 3 diesel engines but does not install them in the aft engine room where the Packards were originally (even though the Packard engine frames were there and still exist today!)

For the purpose of easy installation and weight distribution, he installs two engines in the original gas tank compartment between frames 40 and 48. The 3rd engine was installed in the original frame rails in the center since it was already a direct installation. More on the 486 machinery later.

Again, the story is Sinn sells the 486 to Stocker with the agreement that Stocker will not use the vessel in competition with him. Stocker agrees to use the 486 as a party fishing vessel (big industry in Wildwood) as many boats were being converted and used for that purpose. Sinn uses the 557 for his sightseeing ride and Stocker goes 4 hour fishing.

Former crew member of the Big Blue Sightseer ex-PT 486

Posted By: mcgovern61 | Posted on: Jul 18, 2017 - 9:34am
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered



There is an incident between them sometime in 1953. Again, the story goes like this, the 486 is a terrible party fishing boat because it has too much freeboard for fishing off New Jersey. Stocker is approached with an opportunity to run a charter that is not fishing, just bird watching (or similar). Sinn becomes aware that Stocker is taking people on a charter and feels their agreement is in breech since Stocker would not take people on sightseeing trips. Apparently, it is a pretty big deal. The two were at odds for many many years. Stocker, not going to let anyone tell him what he could or could not do decides to convert the 486 boat to a sightseeing cruiser. The Sightseer is born and sails as a sightseeing boat from that day forward until 2001.

PT-486 as the "Sightseer" 1954:
GzFQk.jpg

Gzkx6.jpg

Sightseer 1960's with "Doo Wop" creatures added:
j7G03.jpg

One of Stockers employees of many years, Chuck Schumann, buys the boat and business from Stocker in 1978. I started working on the boat in June 1979. I had the great pleasure of working with Chuck and getting to know Otto Stocker.

Me working on deck my first summer out of high school 1979:
Gz2fS.jpg

Sightseer 1980 - Me standing at the gate port forward with the blue jacket on:
j7p3T.jpg

More on the 486 later. this thread is about the 557.

Former crew member of the Big Blue Sightseer ex-PT 486

Posted By: mcgovern61 | Posted on: Jul 18, 2017 - 9:42am
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered



I would like to add a disclaimer to this information. I was born in 1961 and was not an eyewitness to any of these events or boats prior to 1972, which was the first time I rode a Sinn's PT-109.

Ron Sinn, son of George Sinn also owned and operated these boats and Ron is still around today. If possible, I would love to get his input for all of this. Perhaps if he reads this forum he may provide input.

Much more to follow as time permits.

Former crew member of the Big Blue Sightseer ex-PT 486

Posted By: mcgovern61 | Posted on: Jul 18, 2017 - 10:07am
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered



Gerry;
THANKS!!! keep going when you can, what happened to PT 557?
Take care,
TED



Posted By: TED WALTHER | Posted on: Jul 18, 2017 - 12:25pm
Total Posts: 3033 | Joined: Oct 16, 2006 - 7:42am




I'm not sure, but is this the boat discussed. I believe the photo is a postcard, don't know what time period.

SinnsDockPTboat.jpg

Drew




Posted By: Drew Cook | Posted on: Jul 18, 2017 - 5:26pm
Total Posts: 1306 | Joined: Oct 19, 2006 - 10:44am





I'm not sure, but is this the boat discussed. I believe the photo is a postcard, don't know what time period.

SinnsDockPTboat.jpg

Drew



That boat is the exPT-728.

Former crew member of the Big Blue Sightseer ex-PT 486

Posted By: mcgovern61 | Posted on: Jul 18, 2017 - 6:03pm
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered



A note to mention; the Sinn family buys, sells and trades boats quite a bit. For example, we know that there were 3 different vessels used for the PT-109 sightseeing/speed ride.

Sometime in the early sixties, the Sinn's acquired the PT-728. I am not sure what she was being used for prior to acquisition. The picture (above) and others show the 728 in service as the 109.

It is likely that somewhere around 1954-55, the Sinn's acquired an WWII Air Sea Rescue boat P-444. Their first use of the P-444 was great! All they did was add a canopy over the top, added seats and painted her bright pink to become the first, "Big Flamingo". It would appear from history that the exPT-557 was converted to the original sightseeing boat, "Flamingo".

GzDvy.jpg

(It is such a hard thing knowing these old wartime vessels ended up going pink and precaution blue with seahorses and King Neptune on top!)


Former crew member of the Big Blue Sightseer ex-PT 486

Posted By: mcgovern61 | Posted on: Jul 18, 2017 - 6:51pm
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered



Sometime in the early seventies, the Sinn's took the 109 (728) south to Florida.

PT-109 ride (Boat is the ex PT-728) sailing along the New Jersey shore in Wildwood, NJ
Gzsyn.jpg

Ex-Pt-728 sailing as PT-109 circa 1965
GzdC8.jpg

George and Ronnie Sinn on the ex-Pt-728 sailing as PT-109 circa 1969
Gzgti.jpg

By 1974, they had another Big Flamingo and the P-444/Big Flamingo became the new PT-109 ride.

Ex-P-444 as "Big Flamingo"
Gz9f4.jpg

ex-P-444 sailing as PT-109 circa 1974
Gz1xO.jpg

It was a much bigger boat than the 728, longer and more freeboard. It was pretty quick, but not as fast as when they used the 728. Plus, with the higher freeboard and better canvas railing protection, fewer people were getting soaked![:-laughing-:]

Now, having the wind in your face and the salt spray washing over is real cool about midsummer. But, in late spring and early summer, the water temp in the mid-atlantic at the Jersey shore runs 75-80 degrees. That might sound warm, but with a strong breeze and boat traveling into the wind at 28 knots average speed and you get downright chilled to the bone. The evening trips were at 7 PM and out on the ocean by 8 PM. That night air and cold water would freeze people and make them quite uncomfortable.

The P-444 sails as the 109 for a few years until about 1978. The Sinn's then convert the boat to the party fishing vessel "Buccaneer".

Ex-P-444 as "Buccaneer " circa 1978
GzA6M.jpg

Later on the Buccaneer is sold and goes North to become the "Peconic Star II" which it still is today.

Ex-P-444 sailing as "Peconic Star II"
GzLzJ.jpg

Former crew member of the Big Blue Sightseer ex-PT 486

Posted By: mcgovern61 | Posted on: Jul 18, 2017 - 7:29pm
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered



By the way, elsewhere on this forum, Chip Marshall has posted some good information regarding the 486 and 557. These boats were part of the Ron4 boats that were set aside by BuShips to be used for an OSS project. They were not used, but the 486 was already partially stripped and converted. Here is a quote from his post;

"Another group of surplus PT boats (by now stripped of weapons and electronics) was set aside by BuShips to act as remote control range boats for post war Test Charlie, the third atomic bomb test scheduled for Bikini Atoll. The reason for PT boats was their speed (they would be able to retrieve samples quicker. The boats were to be painted all yellow and operated from an overhead aircraft. One of the first decisions made was to release the BuShips hold on the Higgins PTs as they were deemed not suitable for the needs at hand. And, with the cancellation of Test Charlie, the Elco PTs were released and eventually sold off. The incomplete list I have of the PTs slated for Test Charlie is 456,486,487,505,557,559,614,615, and 618. "

Chip Marshall

This does coincide with the pictures we have of the 486 in 1944 being stripped down in VA for an "experiment". The pictures are dated 1944, but there is film of these same boats on the Hudson River in 1945. There is no doubt in the Hudson River pictures that the 486 is there.

These pictures are from elsewhere on this forum, but they are the PT-486 when she was being stripped down to be used for the OSS Project. The date stamp on the picture clearly shows it is the PT-486, but the date is 1944.

GzxDZ.jpg

GzU9j.jpg

Gz0Z5.jpg

On a recent visit to the 486 up in Kingston, NY, I went through the boat and verified items in this picture:
GzIva.jpg

Are also in this picture which I took inside of the boat June 2017:
j75hO.jpg
All of the bolt holes for the cribbing are there behind the boards in the frames.


Former crew member of the Big Blue Sightseer ex-PT 486

Posted By: mcgovern61 | Posted on: Jul 18, 2017 - 8:03pm
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered



Gerry;
If that test went off, that would have been such a waste, that would have impacted the Sinn family business and Clark Gable at least. Contact me via the envelope, I want to see if you recognize the structure of another boat, that showed up in North Carolina around the time you said PT 557 disappeared.
Take care,
TED



Posted By: TED WALTHER | Posted on: Jul 19, 2017 - 7:40am
Total Posts: 3033 | Joined: Oct 16, 2006 - 7:42am



"...and Clark Gable at least."

Huh?



Posted By: Drew Cook | Posted on: Jul 20, 2017 - 2:03pm
Total Posts: 1306 | Joined: Oct 19, 2006 - 10:44am



The 615 became, at one time, GABLE'S DREAM...

Will

Posted By: Will Day | Posted on: Jul 20, 2017 - 2:09pm
Total Posts: 1955 | Joined: Oct 8, 2006 - 4:19pm



mcgovern61,

I still rely on emailed photos to our webmaster, Dick Washichek to post on the Forum for me.

He is going to slap me one day for continuing to do this, as I should've learned how to do it myself years ago[:-lookhappy-:]!

I believe there are directions on how to post images on the Forum somewhere on the site...



Posted By: Drew Cook | Posted on: Jul 20, 2017 - 2:12pm
Total Posts: 1306 | Joined: Oct 19, 2006 - 10:44am



Copy, Will (GABLE'S DREAM).

Didn't know that Clarkie-Boy (as my smitten Grandmother always referred to him) had owned a PT.



Posted By: Drew Cook | Posted on: Jul 20, 2017 - 2:15pm
Total Posts: 1306 | Joined: Oct 19, 2006 - 10:44am




mcgovern61,

I still rely on emailed photos to our webmaster, Dick Washichek to post on the Forum for me.

He is going to slap me one day for continuing to do this, as I should've learned how to do it myself years ago[:-lookhappy-:]!

I believe there are directions on how to post images on the Forum somewhere on the site...


Drew, I see Dick is adding a gallery soon. As soon as it is up I will add photos. The other method is to use a hosting site, but I do not have and have not used a hosting site for pictures. I am very familiar with using the gallery in forums so I will wait a bit for the gallery to be made available. Then the pictures will always be here on the forum.


Former crew member of the Big Blue Sightseer ex-PT 486

Posted By: mcgovern61 | Posted on: Jul 21, 2017 - 5:51am
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered



I am adding pictures as quickly as I can!

Former crew member of the Big Blue Sightseer ex-PT 486

Posted By: mcgovern61 | Posted on: Jul 30, 2017 - 1:44pm
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered




Gerry;
THANKS!!! keep going when you can, what happened to PT 557?
Take care,
TED


Ted, I just came across this picture and it is George Sinn operating his original "Flamingo" sightseeing boat. The picture is dated July 1953 which is the correct date he was operating the ex-PT-557 as his sightseeing boat while Otto Stocker was using the 486 as the Sightseer as shown previously in the 1954 picture.

This is the first and only picture I have ever seen of the Sinn family using an actual 80' Elco (although it was cut down to less than 65' in length to reduce USCG regs of the day).

j7Nuk.jpg

Former crew member of the Big Blue Sightseer ex-PT 486

Posted By: mcgovern61 | Posted on: Jul 31, 2017 - 6:00am
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered



Gerry;
Thanks, I just wish there is someway we can find out what happened to 557. As I wrote you there were so many EX-PTs operating on the east coast in the 1950's and early 1960's its hard to trace them all. I know of at least 10 80' ELCO's that were used like this and almost as many 78' Higgins, but for some I have a name, and no number. Like DANCO which was owned by CAPT Red Willis, the first bottom fishing head boat out of Moorhead City, NC. DANCO eventually operated out of Atlantic Beach, NC in the summers and Marathon, Fl in the winters. DANCO had way more cabin than 557, so I really don't think its that boat. DANCO looked alot like the Question Mark(Ex- PT 139) originally did, which operated out of Ocean City MD its whole life.
Out of the RON 4 ELCO boats, 140, 141(sold at auction with 139 on SEPT 5, 1946 Brooklyn), 487, 559 are missing, as well as 13 of the 14 761 series boats (762-765, 767-775 unfinished hulls auctioned at ELCO on 12 FEB 1946), I don't know.
Take care,
TED



Posted By: TED WALTHER | Posted on: Jul 31, 2017 - 9:50am
Total Posts: 3033 | Joined: Oct 16, 2006 - 7:42am



Ted, I have some news! On Frank's FB page, Charles Jones posted a picture of a page out of the book, "WWII US Navy Vessels in Private Hands". This is the page for the PT-557:

j7uBI.jpg

Note that book states that Otto Stocker actually had ownership of the boat! That does make sense since (again, as I heard it), Otto and George Sinn were business partners. The 557 and 486 were purchased in 1951 and this book states that Otto had an ownership in 1952. The picture of the "Flamingo" is 1953 in Wildwood Crest, NJ. It is rumored that Stocker and Sinn had a parting of ways. The 486 as the Sightseer is no longer being used as a party fishing boat but is being used as a sightseeing boat in 1954.

According to the excerpt above, the "Flamingo" was sold in 1954 and moved north and is renamed, "Miss Belmar" in 1955.

Former crew member of the Big Blue Sightseer ex-PT 486

Posted By: mcgovern61 | Posted on: Jul 31, 2017 - 7:20pm
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered



Some of the stuff I found online confirms that the, "Miss Belmar" was also known as the little pink boat! Why pink? Well, I think it is safe to say it was PINK because it was formerly a "Flamingo". All of Sinn's "Flamingo" boats are painted pink.

I did find a single picture of the "Miss Belmar" and it is positively the same boat as the "Flamingo".

j7fGo.jpg

j7Nuk.jpg

I could not find a picture of the boat as the Capt. Louie yet, but the history is listed above. Essentially, the PT-557, much like the PT-486, served the general public well for many years as great party fishing and sightseeing boats!

Former crew member of the Big Blue Sightseer ex-PT 486

Posted By: mcgovern61 | Posted on: Jul 31, 2017 - 7:41pm
Total Posts: | Joined: Unregistered



Gerry;
Well That answers that. . Here is the USCG Registration link: http://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/pls/webpls/cgv_pkg.vessel_name_list

Charlie;
Does that book say anything about DANCO? If not what ELCO bosts are represented in that book?

Take care,
TED



Posted By: TED WALTHER | Posted on: Aug 1, 2017 - 5:57am
Total Posts: 3033 | Joined: Oct 16, 2006 - 7:42am



I see someone asked what became of the PT 557 after it was the Flamingo.
The boat was purchased by Dave Shinn who had a 63 Ft. ASR boat that he converted to a Party Fishing boat in 1949 named it the Bobby ll and sailed from Belmar, N.J. and Pete Saro who had the Party boat Spray ll in Belmar. They bought the Flamingo for their sons Al and Pete Jr. I do not think they even know what they were going to do with the boat but on April 23, 1955 The Bobby ll was run down in a fog about 15 miles East of Shark River inlet by a freighter and 13 feet of the bow was cut off. That is another story in itself. If you would like to read the entire story and see photos go on Facebook and in the search box type in Party boat Bobby ll. I have the story posted there along with photos. Dave Shinn needed another Party boat so he bought out Pete Saro and within 5 weeks he had the old 65 Ft. Flamingo sailing as the Miss Belmar out of Belmar Marine Basin. Dave had removed the gas engines that were in the boat and installed a pair of 671 Diesels. Over the years there were quite a few changes made to the boat. In 1958 they struck a submirged piling on the way out on a fishing trip and the engine room flooded. Dave took the boat to Johnson Bros Boatyard in Bay Head, N.J and had two brand new Johnson and Towers Detroit turbo charged diesels put in the boat and he also had the pilot house enlarged. J and T told him they expected that the boat would have a cruising speed of 16 knots, opps it did 12 knots at 2100 RPm with a top RPM of 2300 RPM. In the winter of 1960 Dave had a yacht carpenter build a tent over the boat at the dock and had a raised pilot house put on the boat. I ran the boat night Bluefishing 1962 through 1964. Dave Shinn passed away in August 1962 and his son took the business over. The boat operated out of Belmar until 1974 and was sold and renamed the Capt Louie and sailed from Highlands, N. J. for several years and was sold again and I think it went to Mass. The ASR Bobby ll had a new bow put on the boat by Stowman Boat Yard in Dorchester, N.J. I bought the boat in 1965 and it became my second Party boat that I operated out of belmar for 5 years before selling it to purchase a newer boat.

Joe Galluccio

Posted By: Joe Galluccio | Posted on: Feb 8, 2018 - 8:33am
Total Posts: 3 | Joined: Feb 2, 2018 - 7:01am



Joe;
Welcome to the board! Thanks for sharing the history of PT 557! She is still listed in the Coast Guard Vessel Documentation as CAPT Louie, USCG DOC Number:263801 with no expiration date so who knows if she is still around.
Take care,
TED



Posted By: TED WALTHER | Posted on: Feb 8, 2018 - 9:41am
Total Posts: 3033 | Joined: Oct 16, 2006 - 7:42am




I see someone asked what became of the PT 557 after it was the Flamingo.
The boat was purchased by Dave Shinn who had a 63 Ft. ASR boat that he converted to a Party Fishing boat in 1949 named it the Bobby ll and sailed from Belmar, N.J. Dave
Dave and Pete Saro who had the Party boat Spray ll in Belmar. They bought the Flamingo for their sons Al and Pete Jr. I do not think they even know what they were going to do with the boat but on April 23, 1955 The Bobby ll was run down in a fog about 15 miles East of Shark River inlet by a freighter and 13 feet of the bow was cut off. That is another story in itself. If you would like to read the entire story and see photos go on Facebook and in the search box type in Party boat Bobby ll. I have the story posted there along with photos. Dave Shinn needed another Party boat so he bought out Pete Saro and within 5 weeks he had the old 65 Ft. Flamingo sailing as the Miss Belmar out of Belmar Marine Basin. Dave had removed the gas engines that were in the boat and installed a pair of 671 Diesels. Over the years there were quite a few changes made to the boat. In 1958 they struck a submirged piling on the way out on a fishing trip and the engine room flooded. Dave took the boat to Johnson Bros Boatyard in Bay Head, N.J and had two brand new Johnson and Towers Detroit turbo charged diesels put in the boat and he also had the pilot house enlarged. J and T told him they expected that the boat would have a cruising speed of 16 knots, opps it did 12 knots at 2100 RPm with a top RPM of 2300 RPM. In the winter of 1960 Dave had a yacht carpenter build a tent over the boat at the dock and had a raised pilot house put on the boat. I ran the boat night Bluefishing 1962 through 1964. Dave Shinn passed away in August 1962 and his son took the business over. The boat operated out of Belmar until 1974 and was sold and renamed the Capt Louie and sailed from Highlands, N. J. for several years and was sold again and I think it went to Mass. The ASR Bobby ll had a new bow put on the boat by Stowman Boat Yard in Dorchester, N.J. I bought the boat in 1965 and it became my second Party boat that I operated out of belmar for 5 years before selling it to purchase a newer boat.

Joe Galluccio



Joe Galluccio

Posted By: Joe Galluccio | Posted on: Feb 8, 2018 - 5:40pm
Total Posts: 3 | Joined: Feb 2, 2018 - 7:01am






Joe Galluccio

Posted By: Joe Galluccio | Posted on: Feb 8, 2018 - 5:49pm
Total Posts: 3 | Joined: Feb 2, 2018 - 7:01am