Yachtclub makes donation to M/V Plover

Published on Thu, Jul 20, 2006 by arol Hogan

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Yacht club makes donation to M/V Plover

By Carol Hogan

This week Captain Richard Sturgill of the Drayton Harbor Maritime Association accepted a donation on behalf of the association for $600 from Semiahmoo Yacht Club (SYC) to help defray operational expenses for Blaine’s passenger ferry M/V Plover, the oldest foot passenger ferry in the state.

“In 2005 the SYC board determined that we needed to support some philanthropic projects,”said commodore Jimmy Johnson.”One of those projects was the Plover, and the other was the Blaine Sea Scouts.

“We felt that because of its history in Blaine as a former Alaskan Packers Cannery shuttle, the history of our yacht club and the continued support of the Plover and the Drayton Harbor Maritime Association, it was a worthy cause,”Johnson said.

”We have such a strong partnership and relationship with the Plover that we decided to up the ante a little bit this year,” Johnson said.”We will continue to support the Plover in years to come.” In recognition of the donation, M/V Plover will fly the club’s burgee, along with the American flag.

“It’s wonderful that the club is supporting us like this…and necessary,” Sturgill said.”We’re so thankful that the Semiahmoo Yacht Club community has considered us for this gift.We really need this money, because the city has decided to provide $5,000 less money (to the Plover) this year.We need to make up the difference in donations and gifts and we’re working towards that.”

“This boat is part of our community,” Sturgill said.”It’s been in Blaine since 1944 and spent its early career here as a cannery launch and now it’s back in service as a passenger ferry and historic attraction for the last 10 years.

“Without this kind of money we could be in jeopardy of either not operating the full summer or possibly shutting down, so it’s vital and very kind of Semiahmoo Yacht Club,” he said.

The Drayton Harbor Maritime Association and the Plover take part in many community activities each year, beginning with the opening day boat parade in May.

In early June members conducted an educational program for Whatcom County schools with over 150 children, including home schooled, grade school and high school students.

The children raised money to take the Plover field trip and chartered a private bus to bring them to Blaine.

“We took them out and showed them an interpretation of Drayton Harbor that included the seals, baby seagulls, eagles, osprey, the sunken tug, a beach walk and a museum lecture about the maritime history of Blaine and its fishing and salmon industry,”Sturgill said.

During operational hours kids of all ages are invited to steer the Plover between the two ports and are then presented with captain certificates.
Most of the SYCs funding for philanthropic donations comes from the support of advertisers in the club’s annual booklet.

At present SYC has 180 family members, and has gained 17 new members this year.

“A lot of people are seeing not only the benefits of the club but they’re seeing that we support a lot of the maritime activities in the local area like the Sea Scouts and the Plover,” Johnson said.”It isn’t necessary to have a boat to be a member of SYC, we have on shore and water activities all year long.”

The Plover Days celebration takes place August 5 and 6 at Gate 1 in Blaine Harbor.

The Northwest Steam Society’s vessels will be on view along with vintage wooden boats. The Prestigious George Raft Race is also held August 5 and rafters are welcome.Contact Bob Knapp for entry information at 332-3111. To ride the ferry on weekends, look for the Plover sign in front of the harbormaster’s office on Marine Drive.