“A big heart.” Capt. Edwin “Wayne” Magwood: 1952-2020
On a frigid day in March 2010, Lowcountry shrimper Wayne Magwood stood on a beam trawler in Frederick Sound off Petersburg, Alaska.
Magwood watched in awe as the Alaskan crew operated the trawler, built for deeper waters and extreme weather and more imposing than Magwood’s own vessel, Winds of Fortune, docked back on Shem Creek. Magwood was a member of a small contingent of South Carolina shrimpers who traveled to Alaska to participate in a five-day Shrimp Fishermen Exchange program. They spoke with local fishermen and government officials about industry leadership and learned about the Northernmost state’s innovative seafood harvest, processing, and marketing methods—an effort, at the time, aimed at preserving the local shrimping industry in South Carolina in the face of increasing competition from imported shrimp and rising fuel costs.
Magwood instinctively “jumped in,” helping the Alaskan crew pull up the haul of spot prawns and sidestriped shrimp and sort the catch, recalls Amber Von Harten, a former fisheries extension specialist with the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium, who collaborated with Sunny Rice of the Alaska Sea Grant Advisory Program on the Shrimp Fishermen Exchange.
It was typical Capt. Wayne Magwood—always ready to lend a hand.
“He had a big heart and had a lot of passion for the industry,” says Von Harten.
Capt. Wayne Magwood (front center in brown coat) and participants of the Shrimp Fishermen Exchange in 2010, in Alaska. Photo by Amber Von Harten.
Magwood, who was killed in an accident on September 11, was a fixture in Mount Pleasant, where he lived and docked his Winds of Fortune for 33 years. Following in his father’s footsteps, Magwood became a shrimper at the age of 16.
A staunch advocate for South Carolina’s shrimping industry, Magwood was a life member of the South Carolina Shrimpers Association and Southern Shrimp Alliance, serving as president of the Association and actively involved in the advocacy efforts of the Alliance. Locally, he was known as a mentor for younger commercial shrimpers, a lender of spare parts, and, to those who knew him best, a fabled storyteller.
“The ocean is unforgiving, and you could see it in his skin and his face,” says Mark Marhefka, a commercial fisherman, and friend. “But there was a gentle person in there. He was weathered, but very gentle and generous.”
When Marhefka was first starting his Abundant Seafood business, in 2006, he talked to Magwood about his idea, and the shrimper went up into the attic to retrieve a commercial scale that Marhefka could use. “I still have that bucket and use it to this day,” Marhefka says.
Magwood often took state fisheries experts out on his trawler, as researchers conducted their spring surveys of shrimp and blue crab resources. “He wanted to make sure we got a good picture of what was really out there,” says David Whitaker, retired assistant deputy director of the S.C. Department of Natural Resources’ Marine Resources Division.
Around Shem Creek, Magwood was known for his smile, and, as he was telling a story, a wink and head nod. “It was an acknowledgment that he was telling you a piece of something important,” Marhefka says. Fair winds and following seas, Capt. Wayne.