Bowdoin Hull Restoration Project

In November 2018, the schooner Bowdoin was hauled out of Penobscot Bay’s wintry waters to undergo a hull planking and framing refit in Boothbay Harbor, where she was built 97 years ago. Maine Maritime Academy is pleased to be working with Bristol Marine at The Shipyard in Boothbay Harbor to complete this work.

MMA’s decision to complete hull work on Bowdoin will ensure that the vessel is able to continue her mission of training MMA students through rigorous training voyages to remote areas of the Canadian Maritimes, serving as the State of Maine’s official vessel, and upholding her status as a National Historic Landmark. The work to be completed includes bottom planking and possible frame replacement. The extent of the work will depend upon what is found once plank removal begins. Read the blog to learn more about our progress, or follow us on social media!

Latest Update


Week of January 14, 2019

Posted on: January 15, 2019

Work on Bowdoin continues this week as we prepare to remove 37 more planks and access sections that have been identified by the USCG for replacement. Bowdoin is constructed with double sawn frames that are composed of multiple sections; these sections make up the roughly 6”x12” frame that runs from the deck to the keel. With a total of 78 frames, and with each frame consisting of 4 to 5 sections, Bowdoin has approximately 320 frame sections making up her hull. The frames provide the shape, strength, and holding power to attach the planks. They are an integral part of keeping the planks in place and the water out. In total, we have identified 7 frames that require work.

You may be wondering why we are having to remove 37 more planks when we’re only working on 7 frames. The reason is access.  We need to access the frame sections that are no longer doing the important job of holding the planks to the hull.  Fortunately, only 7 out of roughly 320 sections need replacement. Unfortunately, we have to temporarily remove some good planks to get access to the bad frame sections.

In other news, the Shipyard was able to remove one of Bowdoin‘s “keel bolts” last week. Though the keel drift was removed with some difficulty, it was found to be in almost new condition! This discovery came as very good news as this important piece of steel hardware holds the keel timbers together.

All the best,

Captain McLean

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