CRANBERRY ISLES — Bouncing back from the COVID-19 shutdown last year, Islesford Boatworks is celebrating the launch of its 16th boat this Saturday. The 20-foot dory will be used by a local lobsterman, Rick Alley, to net groundfish for bait. Like their other boats, the dory was completed in summer boatbuilding school for children ages 6 to 16.
Islesford Boatworks was founded in 2006 on Little Cranberry Island to use wooden boatbuilding to help preserve the local maritime legacy and to teach children woodworking, island ecology and island history. Each year, a group of kids and adults completes a wooden boat and launches it in August in a pirate-themed gala.
The Ravenhill family began the program 16 years ago in a barn on their property. In 2018, the school moved into the Blue Duck, an historic waterfront building rented from Acadia National Park. At the time of this move, Islesford Boatworks transitioned from a school for children to a community program. This summer, programs were offered to preschoolers, teens, adults and seniors. The number of participants in Boatworks programs totaled over 250.
The program is supported by donations from the community and friends, from local banks as well as grants from the Maine Community Foundation, the Ferguson Foundation, the Nichols Foundation, the New England Grassroots Foundation and the King Foundation.