Boothbay Sea and Science Center
Article by Susan Hodder, BSSC Board of Directors
The Boothbay Sea and Science Center is a community sailing and science education center offering affordable access to waterfront activities for mid-coast youth, adults, and visitors through unique sailing programs and innovative experiential learning activities. The organization’s mission is to advance recreational sailing experiences and the study of ocean sciences by minimizing economic and physical obstacles, and developing independence, self-confidence, teamwork and volunteerism among its students. Last summer the center successfully piloted community sailing programs for both teens (the Mainsail program) and youngsters (the Mizzen program).
BSSC’s goals also include enhancing and supporting the public school science curricula, and opening windows into vocational opportunities for area students in the fields of Marine Science, Maritime Engineering, and Environmental Studies by leveraging the region’s business and non-profit assets. Science programs are being developed through collaboration with scientists from the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Science in East Boothbay, as well as other area resources. This summer the BSSC will launch its first educational collaboration with Bigelow, starting BSSC on the path to becoming a regional learning center with accessibility to all members of the community.
In addition, BSSC encourages the preservation of Maine’s maritime heritage by teaching traditional and leading-edge boatbuilding skills and promoting multiple aspects of the working waterfront through partnerships with area fishermen, shipyards and marinas. In 2013, area businesses such as Hodgdon Yachts, Boothbay Harbor Shipyard, Ocean Point Marina, Boothbay Region Boatyard, and the Boothbay Harbor branch of the Bath Savings Bank, made in-kind donations that enabled the Center to pilot its community sailing programs.
Community support has taken the BSSC from concept to reality, and enabled dozens of young people to discover what has been found in generations of Mainers: self-confidence, self-reliance, responsibility, and dependability along with an abiding wonder and respect for the marine ecosystem.