When photographer Alison Shaw heard she had been named this year’s recipient of the Walter Cronkite Award by SailMV she grew emotional.

“I got all flushed and teary eyed,” she said, recalling when the organization notified her earlier this summer about the honor.

On Thursday night, SailMV held its annual summer fundraiser which was highlighted by the official presentation of the Cronkite Award to Ms. Shaw. The event was held virtually, and the conversations pre-recorded.

“Her ability to record and give us images of not only boats being built… but boats on the water, and our marine environment, has been absolutely remarkable,” SailMV president Dan Pesch said in his introduction. “She is part of the Island, she is part of the culture, (and) we are thankful to be able to give her the award and honor her contribution.”

In an interview with Island author Tom Dunlop, with whom she has collaborated on several books, Ms. Shaw detailed the lifelong love of sailing and boats that led her to settle on the Vineyard, where she began her professional career at the Vineyard Gazette.

Ironically, she recalled, “I moved to the Island and my life was not about boats any more. You have to have money and time to be a sailor.”

Instead of sailing in her free time between newspaper assignments, Ms. Shaw kept shooting.

“I was telling the story of the Vineyard,” she told Mr. Dunlop. “I always had my camera with me... I was assigning myself to cover the Vineyard and the natural world, which I found so compelling.”

Mr. Dunlop and Ms. Shaw also discussed the career of her mother, Gretchen Van Tassel Shaw, a photojournalist in the mid-1940s whose assignments included former Gazette publishers Elizabeth and Henry Beetle Hough and the launching of Manuel Swartz Roberts’s last catboat in Edgartown.

“She was a working photographer, (but) as with many women of her age at that time, when she got married she was no longer a working photographer,” Ms. Shaw said. “She was a housewife and mom.”

Ms. Shaw has been aiming her own lens at boat hulls for much of her career, most recently in a series of individual vessels photographed from different angles.

“I become obsessed with whatever the project is, and that’s my current obsession,” she said.

She discovered the joy of sailboat lines during a project documenting the construction of Island sailor Bill Graham’s yacht, Maybe Baby, at Gannon & Benjamin Marine Railway in Vineyard Haven, Ms. Shaw said.

“During that six-month period, I fell in love with the boatyard,” she said.

She also photographed Gannon & Benjamin’s work building Rebecca, “the largest schooner built on the Vineyard since Abraham Lincoln was president,” which was launched in 2001, Ms. Shaw said.

A decade later, with text by Mr. Dunlop, the images were published in the book Schooner.

“I’m still shooting boat hulls at Gannon & Benjamin, but from a different perspective,” Ms. Shaw said. “I couldn’t do it the same way again.”

Thursday’s pre-recorded event, accompanied online by a live silent auction, also included an update from SailMV director of programs Andrew Nutton.

“We managed to weather the storm that was 2020,” Mr. Nutton said.

Despite the pandemic, the sailing nonprofit was able to continue its maritime education program at the high school as well as the school sailing team and a well-subscribed series of private lessons.

Although its annual fundraiser was held virtually for a second year, Mr. Nutton said SailMV has further plans for in-person gatherings.

“We’ll run a couple of events here at the boathouse (with) nibbles and drinks,” he said.

Mr. Pesch, who recently took over from outgoing board president Peggy Schwier, praised Ms. Schwier’s leadership.

“Maintaining maritime heritage has been what Peggy really worked towards,” he said. “We’re making some great progress this year and I want to thank Peggy for all that hard work.”

The video of Thursday’s presentation is available to view online at https://e.givesmart.com/events/m5i/page/presentation/.