2016 Florida Folk Heritage Awards
Ed Long was born in St. Augustine, and raised on Riberia Street across from the bustling shrimp docks along the San Sabastian River. As a child, he grew up fascinated by the industry that dominated the waterfront. He began his nautical career in 1951 with Salvador Marine Repair where he apprenticed under a master mechanic named Potter Cooper. He went on to work as a tank mechanic for the National Guard until he found his way back to boats as a production manager at the Diesel Engine Sales Company, known as Desco Marine, one of the most prolific builders of fishing boats in the world.
Throughout his career, he witnessed the evolution of the shrimping and boat building industries, and worked to preserve St. Augustine’s Maritime heritage. Following the decline of the shrimping industry, Mr. Long has worked to preserve records, artifacts, and photographs from DESCO and other boat builders. He has donated much of his collection to the St. Augustine Lighthouse Maritime Museum. In 2015, Mr. Long partnered with Maritime Historian Brendan Burke to co-author “Shrimp Boat City,” a history of the maritime industry in St. Augustine. Mr. Long’s documentation of St. Augustine’s shifting industries and culture has been an invaluable contribution to the understanding of Florida history.