“The Boat School is alive and functioning,” says Dean Pike, the Eastport school’s last remaining faculty member. “We’ve opened with 11 enthusiastic freshmen.”

Last spring, citing a funding shortfall, Bill Cassidy, president of Washington County Community College, had announced plans to move the Boat School to the WCCC Calais campus. Pike spearheaded the drive to keep the school at its present location.

In July, after a meeting that included Gov. John Baldacci who committed $75,000, Pike announced that the school would remain in Eastport.

Pike says, however that the school “lost a few [students] when it was rumored the school would be going to Calais.” He adds that the students are “from Calais to California and places in between,” and that about two-thirds are from Maine, “ages 18 to 50 plus.”

Courses offered this semester include Boatshop Safety, Introduction to Boatbuilding (including traditional Whitehall rowing skiffs), Lofting, Boathandling (including Travelift operation), and Drafting/lines plans.

Next semester’s courses will include Wooden Boat Construction, Marine Painting and Fiberglass Technology and Repair, Pike said. He adds that although he is the sole faculty member, adjuncts like Eastport’s Captain Butch Harris, who operates the knockabout cruise schooner, SYLVINA BEAL, will be available. Harris will teach boat handling.

Pike says that school operations are not without some problems: “There are walls and windows leaking air, and there are still no thermostats that work.”

WCCC President Cassidy says that no further funding from WCCC or the Community College System would be forthcoming for this year. But he added a reminder “that we have two leases available at the school.”

However, fundraising from the private sector is being carried out by the Friends of the Boat School. Pike adds, “We are starting an Otto ‘Junior’ Miller endowment fund. This will be used to endow the director’s chair at the school and provide avenues of funding the program needs above and beyond the budget.”

Anyone wishing to contribute can contact the Friends of the Boat School at P.O. Box 105, Eastport, ME 04631.