Passing the legacy of boat building, repair and restoration on to the next generation is a goal of the Gig Harbor BoatShop, a maritime nonprofit organization in Gig Harbor.
To further this goal — and bring awareness to the role maritime trades continue to play in Gig Harbor — the BoatShop started the Maritime Mentorship Program in April 2015.
The program recently received an $8,000 grant from the Hagerty Education Program at America’s Car Museum to support this program, funding that helps to make the program unique, according to Guy Hoppen, president and founding director of the BoatShop.
The grant helps to fund the mentorship program and provide MMP interns with a stipend for their work and time, not always the case for many internship programs, which often require interns to subsidize their program.
“(Hagerty) is interested in funding young people to do this more in the apprenticeship model,” Hoppen said. “The idea is to introduce people to a craft and give them enough information that they could pursue the maritime trades further if they wanted to.”
The first MMP project was the complete restoration of a 1964 Chris-Craft Super Sport, with the mentorship and project led by Bruce Bronson, an expert in boat restoration. The first project was completed in June of 2016 and the second project — the construction of an Iain Oughtred-designed Gannet Sailing Dinghy — began at the beginning of this month.
“The general target (is) historically significant vessels,” said Hoppen, adding that the term applies to vessels 50 years and older that are primarily constructed of wood.
The construction of the Gannet Sailing Dinghy is under the guidance of Tom Regan, the in-house boatwright.
The internship program offers five paid internships to local college students interested in learning more about maritime crafts and traditions, said marketing manager Allison Bujacich.
“It’s mainly college age people who might have an interest in this craft,” she said. “The BoatShop offers lots of ways for the community to get involved and learn more about the working waterfront and how it’s shaped our local community.”
MMP interns have come from a variety of backgrounds and career paths, but all share a love of the program and an interest in the skills being taught, Hoppen said.
“The people we’ve gotten have all been great,” he said. “They’ve all enjoyed the program and they all have embraced it.”
Ultimately, the hope is that the interns will continue to work in maritime related fields, using the skills they were taught during their time in MMP.
“We’re connected, a lot of us at the Boatshop are connected to various maritime opportunities and businesses,” Hoppen said. “We characterize some of what the Boatshop does as passing on skills.”
Along with the MMP, BoatShop staff continues to work toward the organization’s mission to preserve the historic Eddon Boatyard and its traditional uses, along with bringing awareness to the influence of Gig Harbor’s working waterfront on the city’s culture.
“We’re obviously looking to pass skills from one generation to the next,” Hoppen said. “(MMP) is meant to transfer knowledge and intro a younger generation to the skills necessary to maintain and restore classic, in this case, Northwest boats.”
The Gig Harbor BoatShop offers several programs for children and adults to experience and learn maritime traditions and skills.
More information on the BoatShop can be found online at gigharborboatshop.org or by visiting the BoatShop at 3805 Harborview Drive in downtown Gig Harbor.