Captain Wally is licensed by the US Coast Guard with his experience in the Beaufort and Hilton Head waters dating back to 1946.
He worked on both crab and shrimp boats while growing up and has been featured in several boating and fishing magazines. He is also active in local and national sport fishing clubs and assists with fishing reports in several publications as well as fishing charts.
As past Commander and present member of the United States Power Squadron, he has had considerable expertise dealing with marine related issues. For example he has taught extensively on the subjects of boating safety, handling, maintenance and navigation. He is also a PADI Master Scuba Instructor and has made many dives offshore.
Major W. A. Phinney Jr., USA Retired, was born in Wakefield, Massachusetts and began developing his familiarity with the South Carolina Lowcountry waters in 1946 when his father, a US Marine for 30 years who served as a sniper in World War II and the Korean War as well as serving as a guard for President Roosevelt and the 1936 Nation Rifle Championship recipient, was stationed at Parris Island. Wally earned the Certificate of Merit as an Eagle Scout at the age of 13 after making a surf rescue to save the life of an 8 year old girl who had stepped into a deep hole while in the water at Hunting Island State Park.
After graduation from Clemson University in 1962 where he was Captain of the swimming team, Wally began a 20 year career as a US Army Officer. The first seven years of his career were spent as an Infantry Officer commanding troops and preparing them for duty in Vietnam. After his first tour of duty in Viet Nam with the 25th Infantry Division , he transferred to the Signal Corps and enjoyed a couple of years stateside as a ROTC instructor at Morehead State University. Soon he returned to Viet Nam as commander of a vital communications unit (420 men) where he was awarded a bronze star and none of his men were killed in action. His army career took him and his family to various stateside assignments and to a position at NATO headquarters in Izmir, Turkey.
Wally later had an unaccompanied tour for duty with the 1st ROK Army in Korea.
Upon retirement from the Army in 1982, Wally and his family returned to Beaufort to live. Wife Lottie, a Registered Nurse retired from Beaufort Memorial Hospital in 2007.
The Phinneys have two married daughters, both college graduates , two grandchildren, and one step grandchild and enjoy family activities with them.
Since 1989 Wally has been piloting fishing charters from the Lowcountry, spending 1,000 hours per year on the water with a perfect safety record. The 35-foot Seawolf V1 is his 6th vessel which he has been piloting since 2004. He has been recognized by the National Organization for Sea Rescues for aiding boats in distress of the South Carolina Coast.
Wally is a strong conservationist, a patriot and devoted family man. He encourages constructive criticism, but frowns upon those who are disrespectful of others.