Kaitlyn Mullen, right, boat captain and executive director of Frenchman Bay Research Boating, and crew member Sarah Jackson pose Monday at the Hinckley Company boatyard in Manset with the yet-to-be-named vessel that is slated to ferry passengers between Bar Harbor and Winter Harbor this season. PHOTO BY DICK BROOM

New Schoodic Ferry is now here

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — The boat that will be used for the new ferry service between Bar Harbor and Winter Harbor starting May 28 arrived here last week.

The 48-foot boat is at the Hinckley Company boatyard in Manset for refurbishing.

She was previously owned by a company that takes tourists on diving expeditions in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park off Key Largo, Fla. Lady Godiver is one of her recent names, and there is an image of a woman with long, flowing hair on each side of the bow.

“We are keeping the lady on the front because she’s been there from the beginning, and it has had 18 different names that we can count from the Coast Guard documentation,” said Kaitlyn Mullen, the boat’s captain and executive director of Frenchman Bay Research Boating, the nonprofit organization that is starting the ferry service.

Although the image of the lady will stay, the name will change. But Mullen said Monday that she isn’t quite ready to reveal the new moniker.

“We need to tell one of the ladies it will be named for before we make it public,” she said.

Mullen said the boat had been sitting idle for about a year because the company that owned her decided they didn’t need as many vessels.

After carefully going over the boat to make sure everything worked properly, Mullen and ferry crew member Sarah Jackson spent three weeks on the 2,400-mile voyage to Manset.

The boat is nearly 15 feet across and can carry 42 passengers. There is also space for bicycles. About half of the passenger deck is covered. There will be a small galley where coffee, tea and baked goods from Elsa’s Inn in Prospect Harbor will be sold.

Mullen said most of the changes being made to the boat are relatively minor. For example, “In Key Largo, the boats don’t need heaters, but in Maine, that might be kind of nice. And the whole boat, inside and outside, needs a paint job.”

As for the color, Mullen said, “She will be painted a bright taxicab yellow

because, basically, a ferry is a water taxi. So, you’re not going to mistake it for anything else. You ought to be able to see it coming at you, even through the fog.”

The Schoodic Ferry, as it will be called, will travel between the pier at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor and the Schoodic Marine Center, formerly the Winter Harbor Marina. There will be five round-trips a day. The first run will leave Winter Harbor at 5:45 a.m. Monday through Friday and at 7 a.m. on weekends. The ferry will run through Oct. 9.

“We have a couple of sold-out trips already, and we’re hoping that will continue,” Mullen said.

Tickets may be purchased online at schoodicferry.com, at a ticket office on the third floor above the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce’s visitor information office at the corner of Cottage and Main streets or on the boat.

Frenchman Bay Research Boating plans to use the ferry as “a research platform for baseline data collection” for studies of Frenchman Bay. Studies lined up for this summer will focus on seabird and marine mammal populations and on the temperature and salinity of the water.

Mullen said researchers won’t be on every trip, “But passengers will get a chance to interact with them when they are on board.”

The new Schoodic Ferry will compete for passengers with Downeast Windjammer Cruises, which has operated a seasonal ferry service between Bar Harbor and Winter Harbor for the past 15 years.

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]

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