A new forty-six-foot power vessel being built for the College of the Atlantic (COA) at the Wesmac yard in Surry will extend the college’s islands curriculum both in terms of seasonal duration and geographic reach. Built to hold more than forty people and cruise at up to eighteen knots, the new boat will feature sound-deadening technology that will allow courses to be conducted while underway. Its sturdier construction and other features will permit marine classes to extend into the spring and late fall. In addition, its six-foot draft will allow it to maneuver in the shallow waters surrounding the offshore islands where COA does much of its work, with research stations at Great Duck Island and Mount Desert Rock. COA has also become a leader in oceanographic research, conducting surveys and projects with the Maine Department of Marine Resources, the National Park Service, and the University of Maine.
“The new vessel will vastly expand our capacity as an institution that offers rich and diverse classes and research experiences in the marine environment,” says Sean Todd, PhD, COA’s Steven K. Katona Chair in Marine Sciences and director of Allied Whale, the college’s marine mammal research program. “The customized construction allows us to develop a vessel that best suits the college and its marine studies program. We are especially glad to be building this vessel locally, using the expertise of local resources that have successfully supported Maine’s fishing industry for many years.”
The RV Five Friends is due for sea trials in June. Its $625,000 cost will be paid through a combination of donations and proceeds from the sale of COA’s existing boat, RV Indigo.