Welcome to the 21st-century Scuttlebutt.
Hard to fathom that The Scuttlebutt first appeared in the 1970s with boatbuilding instructor Carl Felix at the helm, and was briefly revived by first-year boatbuilding student Matt Murphy, class of 1992 – now station manager of WERU-FM, Blue Hill. In true scuttlebutt fashion, he and a few mates cobbled together a newsletter for the Maine Boatbuilders Show.
Republishing this newsletter of the Maine Marine Technology Center, home of The Boat School, Marine Science Station, and Harborhood Community Center, is now tactically necessary to tell our friends about successes and obstacles, and as a vessel for connecting alumni, building new friendships, and sharing information.
The Boat School has seen many changes since the 1970s: from the Calais Armory to the “vo tech” campus, the Lubec Lifesaving Station, and a vacated fish processing plant in Eastport – all under the aegis of state agencies.
Now The Boat School is independent and Friends of the Boat School own the Eastport property. Rescuing it is up to us. You can help by going to www.theboatschool.org and subscribing to The Scuttlebutt. Alumni can join our Alumni Alliance.
As we gather ’round the water barrel – the scuttlebutt – for talk of the day, let’s raise a toast to our future: “The health of the salmon to you, a stout heart, and a wet mouth.”
– Joanne O’Grady
From the Bosun’s Locker
Many will remember me as the 2nd year Boatbuilding Technology instructor. Or you may know me as the proprietor of a marine supply store and boatyard. I chartered the nonprofit Friends of The Boat School in 2005 when The Boat School was still going strong. The Friends’ mission is “to promote marine trades education and development” through promotional activities, student recruitment, and industry support – a “cheering squad.”
That all changed in 2011 when the Friends assumed ownership of the 8.4-acre campus on the Deep Cove Road. The three ’60s-era, “butler style” buildings suffer from the ravages of time and deferred maintenance. We had no choice but to close the facilities to the public as we regrouped and started planning the revitalization.
As a member of the class of 1980 myself, I am keenly aware of the workforce crisis and the unfilled demand for skilled workers in our heritage industry. The Boat School filled this need for over 40 years.
Well, folks, that’s what we’re working to do: “bring back The Boat School” in a facility that reflects today’s technology and the legacy’s traditions.
This won’t happen overnight as we seek philanthropy and funding. We’re “in it” for the long haul: working for the future of a marine trades school full of eager students imbued with the Maine work ethic and the craftsmanship to match.
We’ll be doing all we can to raise awareness and we ask you to help us spread the word.
– Dean Pike
Charting Our Course
Just after the entrance to Shackford Head State Park, at the base of the small peninsula between Deep Cove and Broad Cove, the Maine Marine Technology Center campus awaits the return of the lively activity that defined “The Boat School” until it closed in 2012. The Friends of The Boat School know that MMTC enriched the Eastport area and directly benefited students, the community, and Maine’s valuable marine industry. We are working hard to bring back this vibrant, community-oriented center to again offer educational programs geared to Maine’s marine trades industry, support infrastructure for the blue economy, and a venue for social and civic events.
In the last few years:
⚬ 2017: Maine Community Foundation awarded $7,500 for strategic plan development, and Friends of The Boat School (FOBS) hired a consultant and created a plan. FOBS adopted a Model Green Energy Campus Concept. Ellen Angel and Scott Homer of Artifex Architects & Engineers, Bangor, conducted a structural assessment of the 3 buildings. U. Maine STEINS team of the Civil & Environmental Engineering Department developed a campus reconfiguration proposal.
⚬ 2018-2021: FOBS worked with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection to assess hazardous materials presence on this designated Brownfield site.
⚬ 2021: FOBS requested U.S. Department of Environmental Protection funding to ameliorate contamination, which was declined. Consultants helped FOBS research funding opportunities and update the website.
⚬ 2022: Maine Community Foundation awarded $10,000 in general support. Consultants continue to develop targeted grant applications, make fundraising plans, and devise communication strategies to keep everyone “in the know.” FOBS plans an Advisory Council of marine trades industries representatives and professionals such as an attorney, accountant, financial advisor, and web developer, among others.
Crow’s Nest View
As the chair of Friends of The Boat School, I’m happy to say “Welcome back to The Scuttlebutt!” We are eager for The Scuttlebutt to help us communicate with our alumni, friends, and supporters in Eastport, across Maine, and throughout the marine trades industry.
Exciting things are happening at the Maine Marine Technology Center campus on Deep Cove Road, home of The Boat School, Marine Science Station, and the Harborhood Community Center. We’re working with experts to craft our plans for clean-up, communication, and fundraising, and can’t wait to tell everyone about it. This edition offers a sneak peek.
– Meg McGarvey
To stay up-to-date about plans to bring back The Boat School, simply scroll down to sign up to receive The Scuttlebutt in your in-box. FOBS will never share or sell your address without permission.