Elizabeth Ann Carroll, Licensed Sea Captain

Oct. 25, 1936 - Dec. 31, 2018
Elizabeth Ann Carroll, Oct. 25, 1936 - Dec. 31, 2018

Elizabeth Ann Carroll of East Hampton, who was said to be the first female sea captain licensed by the Coast Guard, died of cancer on Dec. 31 at the Kanas Center for Hospice Care on Quiogue. She was 82, and had been ill for four years.

Known to friends as Betty, she was born on Oct. 25, 1936, in the Bronx to the former Catherine McGonagle and Thomas Joseph Carroll, and attended St. Anselm’s grade school, and St. Simon Stock high school in the borough.

James Mulhern, the man she married in 1959, introduced her to life on the sea and to Montauk. They moved from Queens to Montauk in 1969 and went to work providing lunch on the Viking Star, a party boat. When she wasn’t working in the galley, however, Capt. Paul Forsberg taught her to operate the boat, and she gained enough experience to apply for a captain’s license. After attending navigation school, she took the Coast Guard exam, which, her family said, she passed with a near perfect score.

Ms. Carroll and her first husband had divorced, and she married Capt. Forsberg in 1978. They divorced in the 1990s, but remained close.

She spent 20 years helping her husband run the Viking Star and working as an office manager. Later, she became a real estate agent with Remington Realty in Montauk. She lived in the hamlet until 1998, when she moved to East Hampton.

As Mrs. Mulhern, she was profiled in The New York Times in 1973, after being licensed by the Coast Guard to operate and navigate 100-ton vessels up to 100 miles from shore. “My husband, Jimmy, is hooked on fishing, and we’d come out here [Montauk] on vacation whenever we could,” she told The Times. She also received a letter from New York City Mayor John Lindsay, who congratulated her on the accomplishment. 

She is survived by a son, James Mulhern of East Hampton and by three daughters, Lisa Mulhern Larsen and Carroll Mulhern Logie, both of East Hampton, and Gina Mulhern of Delray Beach, Fla. 

The family received visitors on Jan. 3 at the Yardley and Pino funeral home in East Hampton. The Rev. Ryan Creamer of Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church in East Hampton conducted a funeral Mass there on Jan. 4. It was followed by burial at the church’s cemetery on Cedar Street. A reception in celebration of her life followed at the Hedges Inn. 

Memorial donations have been suggested to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital at stjude.org, the Wounded Warior Project at woundedwarriorproject.org, or the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at aspca.org.