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About the Documentary

Documentary Summary

The Chesapeake Bay, once brimming with life and commerce, slowly dying. It is taking with it a way of life for the thousands of watermen whose families have made their living on the bay for generations.

It’s not too late to save them both.


The Last Boat Out documentary weaves two tales:  The inspiring story of a family of watermen tirelessly trying to preserve their life working the waters of the bay. It is also the story of a bay battered by development and pollution yet struggling to stay alive.

It is a story of neglect, mistakes, diminishing harvests, and development run amok, but it is also a story of hope and human determination.

About The Production Team


Sam Waterston, an Academy-award winning actor and activist, is the Narrator of The Last Boat Out. Waterston is perhaps best known for his portrayal of District Attorney Jack McCoy on the long-running NBC television series Law & Order, as well as for his Academy-award nominated portrayal of New York Times journalist Sydney Schanberg in "The Killing Fields". 


Laura Seltzer-Duny is the Producer, Director and Writer of The Last Boat Out, which aired on PBS stations throughout the country from 2010 through 2017.  The film tells the story of a family of watermen who are trying to continue harvesting the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Their livelihoods are threatened by diminishing harvests and relentless development. 

As a native of Newport News, Virginia, Seltzer was inspired to give voice to the few remaining working watermen in her hometown.

Laura Seltzer-Duny has been producing, directing and managing the production of award-winning documentaries and educational programs for almost 20 years.  She founded Seltzer Film & Video for the purpose of producing social action videos that inspire change.


Bob Kanner is the Editor of The Last Boat Out. He has been producing and editing projects for domestic and international clients for over twenty-five years. He has extensive experience editing in all formats including documentary, series and feature films. 

Kanner co-produces and edits award-winning programs for several documentary and entertainment clients. Kanner’s recent projects include Made in Spain for PBS, American Occupation for the History Channel, Eco Hotspots for the Voom Network and Animal Rescues: Hurricane Katrina for Animal Planet.

Kanner has received five Emmy Awards and numerous TELLY Awards for excellence in programming. His work has been recognized by NATAS and he edited the national Emmy Award-winning special Life On Mars for Cronkite Ward Television.

Documentary Credit List

Produced, Directed & Written by:
Laura Seltzer-Duny

Narrated by:

Sam Waterston


Laura Seltzer-Duny


Bob Kanner

Associate Producers:

Melissa Nix

Ashley Kent

Jimmy Cooney


David Kenneth Waldman


Joey D’Anna

Audio Mixer:

Jeff Mullen

Graphic Designer:

Kristine Carney at Yellow Dog Design

Production Assistance:

John Atkinson

Kat Moon

Javier Pierrend

Rebecca Sheetz

Script Editor:

Melissa Nix

Helicopter Pilot for Aerials:
Neil S. Kaye, MD


“When the Watermen Are Gone” by Selma Peterson

“Downeaster Alexa” by Billy Joel

Fiscal Sponsoring Organization:

Video Action Fund

Additional footage courtesy of:

Martha Ann Ashberry

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Family of Snooks and Bill Burroughs

Maryland Public Television

The Nature Conservancy

Newport News Television
Stark Jette

The following have contributed to the making of this film:

Bonnie M. Atkins

Dudley Biddlecomb

J. Calvin Boyd

Victoria Bruce

Larry Chowning

Charles Davis

John M. DeMaria

Ruth Melzer DeMaria

David Duny

Walter Gotlieb, Final Cut Productions
Elliot Harkavy

Karin Hayes

David Heller

Amy Insley
Roy Insley
Sonny Insley
Phil Lerman

Toby Morewitz

Leon Nicosia

Eddie Oliver

Lee Parker

William P. Parker

Dennis Parker

Ines Perez

Sally M. Seltzer

Steven Seltzer, DPM

Scott West

Patsy Jenkins

Allison West

Ernest West

Marian West

Tom Walker

Harvey Withrow

Darnet Withrow

Jim Withrow

Bubba Withrow

Wendy Withrow

Billy E. Withrow, Jr.

Ruth Withrow

Quotes About the Film

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