A New Boat for the Bath Harbormaster

Posted on Aug 25, 2016

Bath, “the City of Ships,” lies on the lower tidal section of Maine‘s mighty Kennebec River.  It is actually the site of construction of the first seagoing ship built by English colonists in the New World, in 1607.  Inauspiciously, they used it to abandon the colony and return to England, but settlers returned to the area in 1660 and have been building ships there ever since, including many of the fast, graceful wooden clipper ships that once ranged the world’s oceans.  Over the past century, the best known yard has been the massive Bath Iron Works, now a division of General Dynamics Corporation, which has built many ships for the U.S. Navy.  The city is also the home of the Maine Maritime Museum, and the Kennebec draws many smaller boats, both recreational and commercial.

This busy waterfront needs a Harbormaster.  That office is now part of Bath’s Police Department, and it put a new patrol boat into service this summer.  She’s a standard Seaway 24 Sport Center Console, customized in several ways to serve the Harbormaster’s special needs.  “We enlarged the standard helm seat/leaning post,” said Seaway Boats owner Bob Bourdeau in a recent conversation.  “They needed to fit a gasoline-powered fire pump in there.  Aft of it is a towing bit that’s bolted through a reinforced plate laid up in the deck and tied to the hull’s stringer grid.  We also added an oversized, hard-rubber rubrail and a pair of side rails to the forward cockpit.  She is similar to the commercial boats we have built for other New England municipalities.” 

The most obvious modification is a sturdy fiberglass, open-backed pilothouse that offers patrolling officers some weather protection (remember that this boat can’t go into storage during those winters that drove the first English colonists home).  True to the mission, the pilothouse has a top-of-the-line pantograph windshield wiper, a radar dome, and multiple lights for night operations.

Seaway dealer BFC Marine in nearby Woolwich, Maine supplied the engine, a 150-hp Evinrude E-Tec, which has proven to be an excellent match for the 24 CC Sport’s seaworthy, sweet-running hard-chine hull.  “These engines have proven to be plenty durable,” said Glen Kirkpatrick, a third-generation member of BFC Marine’s ownership family (and also a member of the Woolwich Fire Department).  “We service some E-Tecs with several thousand hours on them.  BFC Marine has been an Evinrude dealer since 1955, so we have watched the evolution of these clean, efficient direct-injected two-stroke E-Tecs, and we believe in them.”

Harbormasters shouldn’t have all the fun, though.  How useful could a boat like this one be to a hard-core, year-round angler, or a family with an island cottage?  What new custom features could Seaway Boats devise to fit your needs?