The Great Bay–Piscataqua Waterkeeper vessel will be launched in the next week or so amidst absolutely no fanfare. The reason? We first need to take it out for a shakedown cruise and equipment tests. Many folks have spent considerable time and effort raising funds to purchase the 20-foot, center-console Key West skiff from Port Harbor Marine in Kittery, Maine. The Waterkeeper Advisory Group, a group of energetic supporters from around the bay, was key in raising the funds to purchase the boat. In addition to contributions from businesses like the Kittery Trading Post in Kittery, ME, and the Wentworth Marina in New Castle, generous amounts have been provided by individuals. But we are not quite done. An additional $5K is still necessary to pay for outfitting the vessel and anticipated operating expenses.
I also want to thank a few others who helped make this big step forward for the Waterkeeper program possible: Stephen Medve and everyone at Port Harbor Marine were always accommodating and freely offered advice. Art Swanson at Cider Hill Woodworks in York did a fantastic job lettering and painting. The vessel will be in a slip for easy access by all at Great Bay Marina in Newington.
Local media is anticipating the launch. Municipal and elected officials will be invited onboard to tour the bay. The vessel is a critical part of our work, and will be used to investigate sources of pollution; to monitor shoreland zoning compliance; and for some limited water quality work. A public event is being planned for August, so stay tuned.