From trash to treasure: Northern Neck artist turns old boats into pirate ships


CALLAO, Va. (WAVY) — A man in Virginia’s Northern Neck has a treasure tucked away on his property near the Chesapeake Bay.

Retired firefighter Dan Corder calls himself Captain Dan and turns castaways into pirate ships.  

“I repurpose everything. Most of the transformations on this stuff is stuff that I’ve dug out from the dumpster or stuff that people are throwing out. Masts are made out of porch columns. Cannons are made out of PVC. I find in dumpsters occasionally I will have to buy a fitting or so,” says Corder. 

Corder turned 23 boats into pirate ships and now plans to complete number 24.  

“You got the be the coolest kid on the block if you have a pirate ship,” Corder says. 

He took up this hobby with encouragement from his first mate and wife Denise.

“She was so special in so many ways. In fact she always gave me inspiration about doing these kinds of things”. Denise died after a courageous battle with cancer two years ago.  After 14 years of having her by his side, he felt devastated but carried on to keep her spirit alive.

“Maybe the reason I’m doing so well with these things and it keeps me occupied is I feel a presence with her.” 

10 On Your Side’s Jason Marks found out Corder’s lifelong goal and the high-profile places his pirate ships were sold on WAVY News 10 on Fox 43 starting at 7 a.m. Monday May 6.

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