MMA Alumnus, Will McLean, to Captain Schooner Bowdoin

Posted on: June 9, 2017

CASTINE, Maine—Maine Maritime Academy (MMA) Marine Operations Manager, Dana Willis, has announced that MMA alumnus, Will McLean, has accepted the position of Master of Schooner Bowdoin, the Official Vessel of the State of Maine. Will earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Vessel Operations and Technology with a Sail Training Concentration, graduating in 2012.

While at MMA, McLean served as 2nd Mate/Bosun aboard schooner Bowdoin for two seasons. “I am excited to return to MMA as a captain, and to have the opportunity to work with students learning and sailing on Bowdoin,” said McLean. “We get started on our first training voyage in a couple of weeks and before we head offshore we’ll be training the new crew on the traditional skills of handing sail, reefing, and steering the ship through the beautiful passages found along Penobscot Bay.”

Will came to Maine Maritime Academy following a winter sail schedule with Call of the Sea, an educational nonprofit dedicated to environmental education through sailing. There, he was Captain of the Schooner Seaward, an 82-foot classic staysail schooner, conducting 6-day charters in the Sea of Cortez. Previous to working with Call of the Sea, he was Senior Chief Mate/Relief Captain on the SSV Robert C. Seamans with Sea Education Association for three years.

“As the flagship of our sail training program, Bowdoin is an extremely important vessel in our fleet,” said Willis. “I am extremely pleased to welcome Will to the helm because he epitomizes the dedication of our faculty and alumni; he is passionate about sail training and also has a great interest in mentoring and educating students.”

The schooner Bowdoin enjoys a long history of seafaring education and Arctic exploration. Commissioned by explorer Donald B. MacMillan to facilitate his work in the high northern latitudes, Bowdoin has made 28 trips to the Arctic, 25 of them before 1954 under the command of MacMillan. After MacMillan’s retirement the boat belonged to the Schooner Bowdoin Association until 1988 when Maine Maritime Academy purchased the vessel for the purpose of training students. It was at this time that Bowdoin became the Official Vessel of the State of Maine and was designated a National Historic Landmark.

Maine Maritime Academy is a co-educational, public college on the coast of Maine offering 22 programs of study in engineering, management, science, and transportation. The college serves approximately 950 undergraduate and graduate students in career-oriented degree programs. The job placement rate for MMA graduates exceeds 90 percent within 90 days of graduation. The college is consistently recognized for providing a high-value education by organizations such as the Brookings Institution, U.S. News and World Report, and Money Magazine, which ranked MMA the number-one Best Public College in America in 2014 and 2015.