August 10, 2018

Renovations underway at Islesford Boatworks building

Photo / Laurie Schreiber
Photo / Laurie Schreiber
Young students and their instructors with Islesford Boatworks built and launched this small craft in 2009.

Islesford Boatworks's renovations of a historic waterfront building are underway on this small island off Mount Desert Island.

The Mount Desert Islander reported the Islesford community celebrated the beginning of this new chapter for the town's waterfront Saturday at an open house in the building, known as the Blue Duck. A fundraising goal of $80,000 has already been met, Boatworks co-founder Brendan Ravenhill told the gathering. A silent auction raised an additional $9,750.

In March, the newspaper reported that a partnership with Acadia National Park is allowing the nonprofit educational boatbuilding program to expand on Islesford, which is off Mount Desert Island. Islesford Boatworks secured a 10-year lease for the Blue Duck building from the National Park Service and plans to use it for its summertime wooden boatbuilding programs. Built around 1850 as a ships' store, and named to the National Register of Historic Places, the Blue Duck has mainly been used for storage.

According to the program's website, Islesford Boatworks was founded in 2006 by members of the local Ravenhill family, and has operated in the family's barn on Islesford, offering three levels of traditional hand-tool boatbuilding programs for ages 7-18. The programs attract an average of 60 children each summer in a six-to-eight-week summer program. Over 500 individual students have attended over the past 11 years, many attending year after year.

In recent years, Islesford Boatworks has expanded by adding an advanced woodworking program for teens, an evening adult program and, most recently, a Summer Camp Collaboration Program in which local camps join us for a hands-on day of boatbuilding in our shop, all together nearly tripling summer participants.


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