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Shipyard Purchase, Ferry Fares & Scallops

By Polly Saltonstall

Gamage Shipyard. Photo by Ted Ruegg

Maine Yacht Center buys Gamage Shipyard in South Bristol

Maine Yacht Center, a full-service boatyard and marina located in Portland, Maine, is expanding its reach with the acquisition of the historic Gamage Shipyard in South Bristol; the sale was scheduled to be finalized June 28, according to a news release from Maine Yacht Center General Manager Brian Harris.

Maine Yacht Center has been in business for more than 20 years, offering winter storage and summer dockage in Casco Bay with a team of 40 full-time qualified marine technicians. It provides a full range of boatyard services, from routine maintenance to large-scale refits. 

Gamage Shipyard was founded in 1871 by Albion and Menzies Gamage. In 1924, Harvey F. Gamage took over the business, and from 1924 to 1976, he oversaw the construction of more than 288 sailboats, powerboats, draggers, scallopers, and windjammers. When he died, his son took over until selling the yard in 2000 to a local resident. The yard, which was sold again in 2021 to three employees, Mike Tatro, John Vinal, and Carol Morrison, has 25,000 square feet of storage space on the 6-acre waterfront site, along with a marina and moorings.

“We recognize the entire Gamage team for their commitment to the working waterfront and service to the local boating community,” Harris noted. “The team, like much of the Midcoast waterfront community, worked double duty during the past months bringing back the facility to operational capability following the damage from the January storms. Our goal is to continue this commitment. We will add qualified marine technicians to enhance the service capabilities of GSY and continue to improve the facilities as we grow the business. We will carry on the long-standing tradition and continue to operate the business under the Gamage Shipyard name.”

Hodgdon Tenders’ latest launch is the all-electric Tridente. Image courtesy Hodgdon Tenders

Electric news at Hodgdon 

The latest build at Hodgdon Tenders is all-electric, the result of a collaboration between Hodgdon, Maserati, and the UK-based marine technology company Vita Power. Named Tridente, the tender, which was launched this spring, “is the first fully electric boat that we have built and we are pleased about our involvement in the project,” said Audrey Hodgdon, Hodgden Tender’s Managing Director, who was quoted in a story in the Boothbay Register. “Our company began over 200 years ago and it’s exciting that electrification is now a part of our story moving into the future.” Tridente can seat eight, cruises at 25 knots, and tops out at 45 knots. The boat’s DC power supply recharges in under an hour.

The paper reports the carbon-fiber dayboat is part of Maserati’s “electrification strategy from the road to water.”

Ship litter

Harbormasters along the coast say they are grappling with a growing number of derelict vessels, according to a recent story in the Portland Press Herald. Portland Harbormaster Kevin Battle told the newspaper that he blamed the increase on people buying their first boats during the pandemic without understanding the cost of maintenance, and people making boats their primary home.

Disposing of an abandoned boat can be expensive, which might be why boat owners ditch their vessels. The problem is that then municipal and state entities are left to pick up the pieces, the newspaper reported.

Battle said he dealt with four derelict boats last year. The real number is higher, he said, noting that he only deals with boats left in public waters. He told the newspaper that he knows of many more abandoned at local marinas and wharfs. 

John Noll, director of Maine’s Submerged Lands Program, said that passing a law with title and insurance regulations for boats, along with mandatory seaworthiness inspections for older craft, could help resolve the problem.

“That would help prevent people from buying boats with no money or means to take care of them,” he said.

Tide & weather site changes hands​, an online resource for tides, weather, and coastal data, has a new owner, but he’s a familiar face. Jamie Bloomquist, who helped start the online site, has purchased the company from John K. Hanson Jr., former owner of Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors magazine. With this acquisition, Bloomquist plans to expand the platform’s reach and services, further solidifying its position as a go-to digital destination for marine enthusiasts nationwide. provides comprehensive coastal information, including tide charts, weather forecasts, and local knowledge tailored to the needs of boaters and coastal residents. Over the years, the platform has grown into a trusted resource that over 12 million users rely on for accurate and up-to-date coastal information.

Bloomquist, who set up the site with Joshua Moore as part of Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors in 2009, brings a wealth of experience in the marine industry, including his role as national sales manager for Back Cove Yachts. 

“I look forward to building upon the success of former owner, John Hanson, and continuing to work with USHarbors President Anastasia Fischer to serve our dedicated members,” Bloomquist said.

Ferry fares fly up

Get ready to pay more for travel to and from the Maine islands served by the Maine State Ferry Service. The service is proposing an 18.3-percent overall fare hike for passengers and vehicles, citing inflation’s impact on wages, fuel, and vessel repairs, according to a report in the Working Waterfront newspaper.

The state ferry service, part of the Department of Transportation, serves Frenchboro, Swan’s Island, Islesboro, North Haven, Vinalhaven, and Matinicus.

By law, the ferry service is supposed to be funded in a 50/50 split between the state highway fund and fares and fees. In some recent years, the highway fund has borne more than that 50 percent, which has prompted changes, including eliminating the discount for tickets purchased on-island.

The last time ferry fares went up was 2019. DOT officials cited higher costs for diesel fuel, parts, supplies, contractors, and staff as reasons behind the recent fare hike. The goal, according to the Working Waterfront, is to establish prices so another adjustment isn’t needed for at least four years. The 18.3-percent increase will help the service “keep up with the 50-percent split,” DOT officials said. The percentage increases in ticket prices are different for passenger, vehicles, and commercial trucks. Passengers will see the smallest increase and commercial trucks the largest. The proposed new rates also continue the tradition of charging more for tickets in the busy summer months. The increase was scheduled to take effect in early July.

Money for marinas

Two Maine marinas will receive a total of $3 million in federal funds to make infrastructure improvements.

DiMillo’s Marina, on Commercial Street in Portland, and Peaks Island Marina are the recipients of the money, which comes from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Boating Infrastructure Grant Program.

U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Angus King, I-Maine, and U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine 1st District, announced the awards in a joint statement.

DiMillo’s Marina received $1.4 million in federal funds and has a non-federal match of $582,016, for a total of $2 million. The marina plans to partner with the Maine DOT to add two 75-foot transient berths and add 70 feet of side-tie dockage to extend the current dockage to 200 linear feet.

The marina will also replace aging pilings, install three-phase power, add a more accessible gangway, build a boater’s lounge, and replace an aging fuel dock.

Peaks Island Marina received $1.5 million in federal funds and has a non-federal match of $2.2 million for a total of $3.7 million. With the Maine DOT, the marina plans to add 30 dedicated transient slips and 1,438 linear feet of transient side-tie dockage, along with a wave attenuation system, an added fueling system, and utilities.

Tidal power project proposed

Roughly a decade after a tidal power project was proposed but never built in the Washington County town of Pembroke, another developer, affiliated with Nestar Energy, wants to construct an electric dam in Cobscook Bay, according to a recent story in the Bangor Daily News.

The dam proposed by Pembroke Tidal Power Project would span the mouth of the tidal Pennamaquan River between Hersey and Leighton necks, two southward jutting peninsulas in Cobscook Bay.

Cobscook Bay, on the far eastern end of Maine’s coastline, has been eyed for years as a potential site for generating electricity with underwater turbines powered by its powerful tides, but so far no proposals have panned out.

New hands on the sewing machine

Longtime East Boothbay-based sailmaker Nathaniel Wilson has handed over the needle and thread to Sherm Brewer, who has been working with Wilson for close to a decade. The name of the business, which will remain in its current location at 15 Lincoln St., will change from Nathaniel S. Wilson, Sailmaker, to Sherman S. Brewer, Sailmaker, according to a recent report in the Boothbay Register.

Wilson has been sewing and repairing sails for almost 50 years.

Brewer, according the news report, is no stranger to the maritime world. A graduate of Northeast Maritime in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, he holds a 100-ton captain and 200-ton mate’s license and has sailed on several tall ships. His sailmaking portfolio while working with Wilson includes sails for Victory Chimes, Pride of Baltimore, Corwith Cramer, Lynx, Grace Bailey, and Ernestina Morrissey. For information, visit

Waterfront grant

Sea Meadow Marine, a nonprofit marine business hub on the Cousins River in Yarmouth, has been awarded $790,000 in federal funds for major upgrades so that tenants can expand their businesses.

According to a report in Mainebiz, the money will be used to rebuild a bulkhead and launch ramp, and install water and sewer systems. The funds come from a community project funding program created by the U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee.

Sea Meadow Marine Foundation purchased the 12-acre boatyard, at 123 Even Keel Road, in 2021. (See story in MBHH, Issue 182) Today, the facility hosts early-stage fisheries and sustainable aquaculture businesses alongside marina services, heritage boatbuilders, and recreational marine organizations.

Road repairs debated

Federal and state agencies were debating this spring whether to repair a stretch of road along the waterfront on Mt. Desert Island that has repeatedly been damaged by winter storms, according to a report in the Maine Monitor.

The half-mile stretch of Route 102A runs along an exposed cobble stone beach between the Seawall Motel and Acadia National Park’s Seawall picnic area and campground. In recent years the road has received a pounding in winter storms that have swept piles of rocks onto the roadway up to 3 feet deep and buckled the road surface. The deliberations about rebuilding included the Maine Department of Transportation, National Park Service, and abutting towns.

The road connects Southwest Harbor to Acadia National Park’s Seawall campground and picnic area, Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse and two popular trails: Wonderland and Ship Harbor. When the roadway is impassible, people coming from Southwest Harbor who want to visit these areas must take a 25-minute detour through Tremont.

One option is abandoning the road. Another is to repair and raise it. A decision had not been made at press time, according to a DOT spokesman, and the road remained closed.

Baby scallops star in study

The Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries, Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership, and Colby College are in the second year of a study meant to understand the baby scallop population along the coast. According to a story in the Portland Press Herald newspaper, the work is funded by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.

The tiny, two-shelled juveniles, or spat, are important to fishermen who scoop wild scallops from the ocean floor and aquaculture farmers who raise them in contained areas.

Unlike most aquaculture farmers who work with other species, scallop farmers can only grow their bounty from wild spat—the same spat that wild scallop fishermen need to feed the general population.

Groups, including high school students, scallop farmers, and fishermen are gathering data by deploying 14 lines of spat bags along the coast, inshore and offshore—in Blue Hill Bay, Casco Bay, Muscongus Bay, and the Milbridge area.

“Those are the superhighways delivering larvae from one part of the coast to another,” Carla Guenther, chief scientist at the Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries, told the newspaper. “A really big piece in managing is: Do you have a locally sourced population? Because if you over-harvest, then you’re hoping on help from somewhere else.”

Maine Center for Coastal Fisheries also hopes giving the fishermen and farmers a role in the project can help them learn to work together as the scallop aquaculture industry grows.

The fishery has experienced significant ups and downs in the last few decades. Last year, wild-caught scallop fishers hauled in 5.5 million pounds of scallops worth $9.31 million.

Historic preservation effort

An effort is underway in Lubec to preserve the country’s last surviving commercial herring smokehouse complex. Now known as the Historic Lubec Landmarks Inc., a nonprofit founded in 1996 to preserve Lubec’s historical waterfront and area culture, owns and operates the complex, some of which was turned into a museum and gallery for local artists, according to a recent report in Mainebiz.

Lubec Landmarks has been consulting with the Eastport-based nonprofit Tides Institute and Museum of Art to come up with a plan and funding to stabilize the structures, which are perched on log pilings over Lubec Narrows. This would include installing new and taller pilings.

Preservation Timber Framing of Berwick has been brought in to assess the structural needs of the buildings and the associated cost, according to Mainebiz. In addition, a preservation consultant is looking into whether the complex is eligible for National Landmark status, which could open up additional funding opportunities. The complex, which includes four buildings, already is on the National Register of Historic Places. There used to be more buildings, but one of the herring sheds broke off in a winter storm several years ago and floated across the narrows to Canada’s Campobello Island, sparking heated international debate over who could salvage the remains. 

Polly Saltsonstall is Editor at Large of MBHH.


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