by Tina Harbuck

The Sweetheart is still afloat in Santa Rosa Sound in Fort Walton Beach. [TINA HARBUCK/THE LOG]
The Sweetheart is still afloat in Santa Rosa Sound in Fort Walton Beach. [TINA HARBUCK/THE LOG]
At first glance, the slim lined white boat, trimmed in red and floating in Santa Rosa Sound might conjure up the tune “Let Me Call You Sweetheart.”

And rightly so. The moniker on the stern of the 44-foot vessel is Sweetheart.

Built in the mid-1940s, the Sweetheart, one of Destin’s original charter fleet, has brought pleasure to many.

The Sweetheart was one of two boats that Capt. Nick Maltezo had built in the ’40s in front of his house along the beach. The other boat was tagged the Memory.

In 1946, Capt. Edgar Walter bought the Sweetheart and fished her for many years, a tradition that was continued by his son Harold Walter and grandson Edgar.

Capt. Edgar Walter and Vera aboard the Sweetheart in the late 40s or early 50s. [SPECIAL TO THE LOG]
Capt. Edgar Walter and Vera aboard the Sweetheart in the late 40s or early 50s. [SPECIAL TO THE LOG]
“The boat was a year old when Uncle Nicky sold it to my daddy,” said the 88-year-old Capt. Harold as he sat in his recliner in his home on Kelly Street in Destin. “It originally was a net boat …; a seine boat.”

Then his dad finally decked it over and put a top on it and fished it as a charter boat.

At the time Edgar bought the boat he was a glass cutter in Shreveport, Louisiana, and would come over to Destin and run the boat on the weekends and in the summer when he had trips.

“It went on like that for years and then daddy finally decided to give it up and come on down here and run the boat,” Harold said.

By 1948, Edgar was running the boat full time and he fished it until he died in 1982. Harold started fishing alongside his dad when he was about 8-years-old.

In 1975 the Walter’s put another boat in the water, the Lady Eventhia.

“Most of the time he’d run one boat and I’d run the other,” Harold said. “Either one they put me on, I didn’t care.”

As for the Sweetheart, Harold said she was a great boat.

“She was a wonderful fishing boat. She was a comfortable boat, good rails,” he said. “She was a lucky boat …; she caught lots of fish.”