Joseph McGowan of Rose Cottage, Rosses Point, went to sea on sailing ships in the latter half of the 19th century. In 1881 he was one of the crew of the schooner Jane Millen rescued of Scotland. He later became a River Pilot and Master of the tugs Olive and Hope. He married Rosanna Kilgallon and by her had three sons; Joseph, John and James, all of whom went to sea. Joseph eventually became a Lighthouse Keeper; John was an officer with the Yeoward Line and died in a drowning accident; James secured a Masters certificate and sailed as relief mate on the Carrickfergus. He was in command of the Tartar for a short period before retiring on health grounds.
James McGowan of Alma Cottage was a brother of Joseph Senior. He spent many years on sailing vessels before becoming a River Pilot. He died in retirement in Rosses Point.
Pat McGowan of Island View Cottage was a cousin of Joseph Senior and James. For a time he was Captain of the Galgorm Castle before becoming a River Pilot. He married Bee Bruen and had five sons: Pat, John, James, Willie and Michael. Pat died onboard his vessel in Newry; John died on the SS Moss Rose in the Bristol Channel; Willie went missing during World War II. James was AB on the SS Liverpool, which sunk in 1916, and later 2nd Mate on the SS Carrickfergus and SS Sligo IV. He later became Lamptrimmer on the SS Lairdsdale when she was operated by Messrs Burns-Laird. Michael, a River Pilot, later went back to sea and was lost overboard from the SS Greypoint at Cork, in December 1947.