Port Tampa Bay Anchor Ball

2021 Anchor Ball

Port Tampa Bay, Tampa Port Ministries, and the Tampa Bay Maritime Scholarship Foundation are hosting the 2021 Port Tampa Bay Anchor Ball with the Propeller Club-Port of Tampa and Port of Tampa Maritime Industries Association joining in to urge your participation.The proceeds from the Anchor Ball will benefit the Tampa Port Ministries Seafarer's Center and the Tampa Bay Maritime Scholarship Fund. We invite you to join us! 

The Anchor Ball is a great way for you and your organizations to have a direct impact on the people passing through the port and our industry's future, from the students to the seafarers that visit our port each day. This will truly be a port-wide event that you won't want to miss! We will have a variety of silent and live auction items available and we invite you to dance the night away. 

If you would like to donate items to our silent or live auction, make a donation, or sponsor this year's Anchor Ball, please contact Christyna Doege at 813.905.5181 - [email protected] or donate by clicking on the this link. All donations are greatly appreciated. Thank you for your continued support of all our organization and your consideration. We look forward to seeing you at the Anchor Ball!

The Captain James McKay Port Achievement Award

A rugged Scotsman by the name of James McKay played an important role in the history of Tampa Bay. He was born on the Northern Coast of Scotland in May 1808, and became a master mariner. Captain McKay met Matilda Alexander, an Edinburgh native, and married her in 1837. Soon after, they moved to Mobile and Captain McKay became involved in various shipping and mercantile enterprises. In 1846, the McKays along with their four children and Matilda’s mother, set sail for Tampa. They were shipwrecked near the mouth of the Chassahowitzka River, where their fifth child was born. They proceeded to Tampa in covered wagons, arriving in October 1846. 

Upon arrival the family purchased property, including blocks of what is now downtown Tampa and Ballast Point, and the family became a cornerstone of the community. Captain McKay established a line of schooners that plied the waters between Tampa and New Orleans. He built a sawmill, the first courthouse, and the First Baptist Church. He carried the mail from Tampa to Gainesville, established a merchandising and trading business in Fort Myers and served as the third mayor of Tampa. By the time of the Civil War, his fleet was substantial. He discovered a profitable new market for Florida cattle in Cuba, where cattle had been destroyed by uprisings. He also established a salt works in Tampa Bay. 

After the War he continued his shipping activities until his death in 1876, at 68 years of age. His heirs and successors followed in his footsteps, with succeeding generations producing both sea captains and mayors. One of the McKay sons, Captain James McKay, captained the S/S Mascotte, which now appears on our City’s seal. His youngest daughter, Almeria, married Dr. Howell T Lykes, and was mother of the seven Lykes brothers who perpetuated the family business. Many streets and landmarks in Tampa have been named after various members of the McKay clan. McKay Bay, just east of the Port’s main peninsula, is one such location. People like Captain McKay are rare. He was a man of the sea, but one who knew the value of real estate and land-bound enterprises. He was a man with true vision. He set an example of entrepreneurship that many have tried to follow, but that few could emulate. He was determined, competent, and respected. We have created an award in his honor, for those few who have made significant contributions to this great port of ours, Port Tampa Bay. 

Past Recipients

2002 - Mrs. Shirley McKay Savage Knight

2003 - Mr. Linton Tibbetts - Tibbetts Holdings

2004 - Mr. Charles A. Harden - Marine Consultant

2005 - Mr. Aaron Hendry - Gulf Marine Repair

2006 - Reverend Jerry Key - Tampa Port Ministries (Posthumous)

2007 - Mr. Steve Fidler - Tampa Port Authority

2008 - The Honorable Sam Melville Gibbons

2009 - Mr. John T. Thorington, Jr. - Tampa Port Authority

2010 - Mr. Joseph Garcia - Trenam Kemker

2011 - Mr. Emmett Lee – Tampa Port Authority

2012 - Mr. Dave Sessums -  International Ship Repair

2013 - Ms. Sandy Naugle - NOLA port agents

2014 - Family of Mr. George Steinbrenner (Posthumous)

2015 - Holland America Line

2016 - Richard Ghent - Mosaic

2017 - Terry Fluke - Cargill / TBHSSC

2018 - Tim Shusta - Counsel, Phelps Dunbar

2019 - Captain Allen L. Thompson, Jr. - USCG (Retired)

2020 - Stephen W. Swindal - Marine Towing