Since 2016, seniors from the four Pleasant Bay communities (Chatham, Brewster, Harwich, and Orleans) have been participating in our “Seniors Sailing” program. This summer, we again offered the opportunity to sail, free of charge, to 24 seniors from each of the four Council on Aging centers, doubling our 2017 offerings! We’re thrilled to be able to do this and are so gratified to hear the participants unanimously proclaim the experience to be “awesome!”
It takes a fair bit of planning, coordination and good luck to pull off a successful Senior Sailing day. Each senior is accompanied by a guide from the town’s Council on Again (COA) to ensure safe transition from PBCB’s parking lot to the dock and boats. With guides and a PBCB sailing instructor, the seniors head out onto the magnificent waters of Pleasant Bay. For some, it’s their first ever time sailing, while others may not have sailed in decades.
Our COA participants have been overwhelmingly positive about the value of their experience — therapeutic for mind, body and spirt. They get the chance to experience the joy and the thrill of sailing on Pleasant Bay, appreciate the marine environment, and engage with PBCB’s corps of sailing instructors. One participant said, “When I was young, I adored sailing, but haven’t had the opportunity to get into a sailboat for years, until now.” Another exclaimed, “I’m so excited, I’ve been wanting to do this for so many years. This is truly a dream come true!”
PBCB is thrilled to bring such joy to our seniors, and is thankful to the COAs and all the generous donors, corporations and foundations who have supported this program’s development. In just three years, demand for the Senior Sailing program has exceeded our ability to accommodate more participants. We are currently limited to twelve participants from each town’s COA, and directors must discretely manage the application process because of its popularity with eager seniors. We are seeking additional funding to enlarge the program scope again for next year!
“I don’t get out much. This outing on Pleasant Bay was a new beginning for me. It was so restorative.”
The Friends of Pleasant Bay (FOPB) with Pleasant Bay Community Boating (PBCB) have announced a commissioning ceremony for a solar-powered floating classroom research vessel, unique to Cape Cod. The private ceremony will take place on August 25 at PBCB’s direct waterfront campus, and is primarily an event to thank supporters of the project.
The floating classroom research vessel (FCRV), named “Friend of Pleasant Bay,” is a 37’ long, 12’ wide, solar-powered electric-motor pontoon vessel that can accommodate up to 29 passengers and two crew. It can also accommodate 10 wheelchairs at reduced capacity. Solar panels on the vessel’s roof deliver power to the electric motors. The shallow draft of the FCRV will help students and scientists to access remote areas of the Bay and the near-silent electric motors will allow quiet approach to seals, birds and other wildlife that live on PleasantBay.
Although a very few floating classroom research vessels exist on Cape Cod, a solar-powered floating research classroom vessel is a first.
The idea for a FCRV was spawned at a meeting in 2017 among representatives from FOPB, PBCB, Center for Coastal Studies and Chatham Marconi Maritime Center. Taking the lead, FOPB researched floating classrooms, settled on a builder — American Pontoon in Manning, SC — and raised the funds to build the FCRV. The vessel was designed, with input from all its originators, specifically to meet the demands of education and research.
Important early decisions were that the FCRV would be gifted to PBCB and that three to five years of maintenance costs would be included. PBCB has the facilities –- dock, water access, mooring – and experience with marine education programs and enrollment. Further decisions involved collaboration among the Monomoy and Nauset school systems, Lighthouse Charter School, Cape Cod Regional Technical School, Chatham Marconi Maritime Center and Center for Coastal Studies to ensure that use of the FCRV would be strictly educational and research-related.
FOPB has also already made education grants to schools in Brewster, Chatham, Harwich and Orleans for over 32 floating classroom trips in the 2018-19 school year.
Ted Baylis, PBCB’s President, noted “We are indebted to FOPB for their enormous contribution. The FCRV is a game-changer for everyone, but especially for PBCB. The “Friend of Pleasant Bay” will make it possible for us to expand our marine education and environmental stewardship programs. She’ll enable us to do shoulder-season school programs as well as support off-season research by Center for Coastal Studies and others.”
He added, “Pleasant Bay is a precious asset. You’d be surprised by how many Cape Cod kids have never been out on the water. In their lifetimes, they will be facing issues of ever-rising seas and they need to be familiar with these coastal zone processes so they can make the best possible decisions for their communities.”
The FCRV will serve as a dedicated research vessel for scientists, an educational platform for Cape Cod children, locals and visitors to the Cape and will be available to other organizations that are seeking a unique learning experience on Pleasant Bay.
You are invited to celebrate summer with us here at PBCB, Saturday, August 25th!
We’re thrilled to introduce our new Speaker Series for Summer 2018! We’ve scheduled a fabulous series of talks and conversations with some of the most engaging speakers in the region! Please join us for these events!