In Remembrance: The SS Marine Electric Sailed Into History 39 Years Ago This Month

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The SS Marine Electric sailed first into a winter storm — and then into history in February 1983. The three survivors of the accident testified that the ship was poorly maintained and the US Coast Guard Marine Board of Investigation suggested broad and deep changes in the way US ships are inspected

The result? A period of more than 30 years elapsed without a major US ship lost — a record ended by the loss the SS El Faro in 2015.

Bob Cusick
Bob Cusick

To learn more, read the original Philadelphia Inquirer account of the story here.

Or listen to a stirring account of survival told by Third Mate Gene Kelly here.  Gene tells it from the heart at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in the Ed Fouhy Distinguished Speaker 

Or read the book. “Until the Sea Shall Free Them” tells the story of Bob Cusick and the wreck of the SS Marine Electric, a tragedy that resulted in major reforms in American maritime safety laws. An online version of the book is available here gratis. You can purchase a copy or audio book here.


  1. Thank you for the reminder. I have read Until the Sea Shall Free Them several times
    It is on my coffee table where it generates interest in the Marine Electric story. God bless all.

      1. Hi Robert – Michael Lewis here ( I was shipmates aboard the Steamship Authority ferries with a couple of the guys who went down on the Marine Electric. With the 40th anniversary approaching, I met recently with Gene Kelly to discuss his experiences and to share something I wrote in remembrance to those who were lost that night. Would like to send you an email if you’d be open?

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