Historical and Educational Maritime Groups
Historical boating groups provide a valuable service to the public at large. They don’t only keep history alive, but they also educate the public on the contributions of historical vessels. Other heritage groups may focus on the preservation of a certain waterway or maritime industry instead of a boat. What both of these types of groups have in common is a dedication to keeping maritime culture and history alive.
The Waverley Steam Navigation Co. Ltd is a preservation charity, and it owns the Motor Vessel Balmoral (MV Balmoral), but the historic vessel is operated by Waverly Excursions Ltd. Today, the Balmoral runs on the Bristol Channel, but it also makes occasional runs into other areas of the United Kingdom. The Waverly Steam Navigation Co. Ltd originally bought the Balmoral for intended operations alongside their own ship, the paddle steamer PS Waverly. After the purchase by Waverly, the Balmoral was refitted and returned to service to complete summer-season excursions. The ship can carry 750 passengers and features two bars, a self-service restaurant, a souvenir shop, and a heated lounge.
The Paddle Steamer Preservation Society is a group that is the owner of the historical steamship by the name of the PS Kingswear Castle. Taking its name from nearby Kingswear Castle in Devon, in the United Kingdom, the PS Kingswear Castle runs summer trips on the Thames and the River Medway. In 1967, the Paddle Steamer Preservation Society bought the steamship, and it worked hard to restore the ship until it was finally brought back into working operation again in 1985. People may even choose to hire the steamship for private functions such as cruises or parties.
The Loch Lomond Steamship Company is the owner of the PS Maid of the Loch, Britain’s last paddle steamer built in the country. The Loch Lomond Steamship Company is a charitable organization made up of unpaid volunteers who receive no payment for their work dedicated to restoring the steamship. At present, the PS Maid of the Lock is open each day from Easter to October; she is also open through the Winter on weekends. It is also open to the public in the form of a bar, a restaurant, a café, and a visitor’s attraction. The charitable organization is currently working on renovations in the hopes of making the PS Maid of the Loch suitable once again to provide service on the loch.
The Muskoka Lakes Navigation Company is the owner and operator of the RMS Segwun, which is the oldest steam-driven vessel that is still in use in Canada. The company refurbished the RMS Segwun in 1982 and then prepared it for re-sail. The history of the Segwun was that it was one of many steam-driven vessels that made transportation easier for vacationers in the District of Muskoka, a resort area that was underserved by roads. Today, the Segwun sails for 145 days out of the year and accepts passengers from across the globe. Some of the cruising packages featured are Sunset Dinner Cruises and the Lunch and Millionaires Row Cruises.
The Solent Steam Packet Limited
A preservation society that runs itself as a charity, the Solent Steam Packet Limited is the entity responsible for taking over the SS Shieldhall in 1985. The SS Shieldhall is a steamship that runs out of Southampton, in England, and, historically, it was used as a Clyde sludge boat to empty treated sewage sludge at sea. The Solent Steam Packet Limited is composed of volunteers that are unpaid. Bought for 20,000 pounds in a couple of decades ago, the SS Shieldhall today enjoys action on the open water again, as it is operated by the same volunteer crews and ferries passengers around the Solent running excursions.
Waverly Excursions is a cruise ship operation that is an offshoot of the larger Paddle Steamer Preservation Society of the United Kingdom. It currently operates the PS Waverly, which is the globe’s last seagoing paddle steamer that also carries passengers. Waverly Excursions was born in the 1970s, out of a public call to raise money to restore the PS Waverly. When enough was raised to restore it, Waverly Excursions came into being to run the ship. In the early part of the 21st century, the PS Waverly was restored back to its 1946 look, and today, Waverly Excursions runs many passenger trips out of a variety of British ports.
Located in Aberdeen in the state of Washington, the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority is a public development authority and a non-profit organization that is committed to preserving the maritime industry of Grays Harbor. It operates the tall ships called the Hawaiian Chieftain, the Official Ship of the State of Washington, and the Lady Washington. The mission of this historical seaport authority is to offer vocational, educational, and ambassadorial activities relating to the local Grays Harbor maritime industry. This non-profit organization also partners with schools, federal agencies, and juvenile correctional programs, while serving clients from the Pacific Northwest and the West Coast.
The Mystic Seaport is best described as a not-for-profit and private institution that promotes education about Mysic, Connecticut’s, maritime heritage. The institution has a $20-million, annual operating budget that is procured through donations, sponsors, sales from its museum, and investments and operations. It features four vessels that have been designated as National Historic Landmarks. These are the L.A. Dunton, the Sabino, the Emma C. Berry, and the Charles W. Morgan.
The Hudson River Sloop Clearwater started out in 1966 by musician Pete Seeger, who was distressed about pollution in the Hudson River. From Seeger’s determination came the 106-foot-long sloop by the name of Clearwater, which was one of the first in the world to facilitate education that was founded on science-based education. Today, Clearwater is a non-profit, environmental corporation that is dedicated to the goal of preserving the Hudson River. In this capacity, Clearwater provides education programs to 15,000 students and 200 teachers every year, in addition to organizing the environmental and music festival called the Great Hudson River Revival.
The American Canal Society was established in 1972, and it was established as a society to advocate for the prudent use of the United States historic canal resources. The society aims to advocate this prudent use through recreation, restoration, preservation, and research. The role of the American Canal Society is as a national clearinghouse of canal information. As such, it coordinates with local, international, and state canal groups and societies, identifying canal resources and taking action on endangered canal and sites.
A non-profit organization, the Canal Society of Ohio is committed to the preservation and study of the canals in Ohio. It publishes both quarterly publications as well as newsletters in order that members can learn about the history of canal as well as items of current interest. This society is also quite proactive, sponsoring twice a year a weekend tour of a selected segment of an Ohio canal. It is so committed to the preservation of canals in the state that it passionately encourages the participation of any other group that has an interest in Ohio’s canals.
Established in 1966, the Pennsylvania Canal Society was incorporated in the state and is listed as a non-profit educational organization. The preservation of the meaningful heritage of canals and canaling is the reason that this society exists. Other aims that the society works for, too, include the restoration of existing canal sites, the furthering of canal research, and the furnishing of resources on canal history and operation to the public at large. The Pennsylvania Canal Society is also a part of the team that maintains the National Canal Museum located in Easton.
The Birmingham Canal Navigations Society started out existence in 1968 when it was a registered charity. It was then reconstituted as a company limited in 2002, but its ambition has always been to improve, conserve, and encourage a large amount of interest in the network of the Black Country and Birmingham Waterways called the BCN. Some of the activities of the Birmingham Canal Navigations Society include members cleaning sections of the canal and the use of youth groups to help work boats in canal preservation efforts.
The Inland Waterways Association is a United Kingdom-based, registered charity that was established in 1946. Its mission is to fight for the development, restoration, maintenance, use, and conservation of British canals and river navigations. This is one of the larger waterways preservation groups in all of the UK, and it boasts nearly 18,000 members as of 2010. It is very proactive, organizing conferences for other waterway organizations, lobbying for support, fundraising for their cause, and works in a partnership with British Waterways (a statutory corporation that is owned by the English government). All this activity has paid off, as this association is credited with reopening more than 500 miles of previously derelict river navigations and canals.