The Schooner Bowdoin, flagship for Maine Maritime Academy, made a two-day visit to Boothbay Harbor Sept. 26 and 27 to raise money for the school’s scholarship fund and encourage students to take up maritime careers.
“We want to honor shipbuilding and engage the youth of the community,” said visit coordinator Rear Admiral Retired Tom Shannon.
Shannon greeted the Bowdoin at the Oceanside Resort dock where it was open to public tours and was scheduled to take a demonstration cruise on Friday, Sept. 27.
“What (an) honor to shipbuilding,” said Shannon. The Bowdoin was built at the now Hodgdon boatyard in 1921 and became known for Arctic cruises by the ship’s owner, explorer Donald Baxter MacMillan, Shannon said.
Shannon serves on the MMA scholarship committee and hoped the visit would encourage donors to support the school. He invited students from Boothbay Region High School, Lincoln Academy and the Sea Scouts to tour the boat and join the crew for a sail of the harbor.
Growing up in Calais, Shannon knew nothing about MMA until introduced to the school through a friend. He now encourages youth to consider attending the school as a bridge to a maritime career. Shannon said MMA has advantages over the U.S. Naval Academy because graduates get an operator’s license on graduation as well as a diploma. “You could be on the bridge of a destroyer the day after graduation.”
Shannon greeted his 1982 classmates on the dock. Capt. Bruce White took classmates and friends Sue Tiller and Jeff Stenberg aboard his charter boat, the Hay-Val, to escort the Bowdoin to the dock. Tiller, the first woman to graduate from MMA, runs YWorry Marine Services. A boat captain and instructor, on Sept. 26 she was selecting fabrics to custom-make cushions for a local boat owner.
Fellow graduate Stenberg worked for the American Bureau of Shipping as an inspector, then became an insurance adjuster. Today, he helps Bruce White in rescue operations with Sea Tow. White has encouraged his family, including his daughter and stepson, to attend MMA. His son-in-law, also a graduate, has a career in the merchant marines.
The Bowdoin’s four crew members, captained by Will McLean, were treated to an overnight at the resort.