The community of Islesford, located on Little Cranberry Island Maine, was once home to a fair number of fisheries and marine-related businesses, and the island’s population relied on the ocean for their livelihood in a broad spectrum of trades. Today, however, marine-related professions on the island have ebbed to the point that only lobstering remains. In pondering the future of Islesford we have watched our waterfront change and have grown concerned about the sustainability of an island community that is increasingly cut off from the ocean.
Working with the residents of Islesford, the Ravenhill family started Islesford Boatworks in 2006 as a way to support the waterfront and share their passion for woodworking and boats with children living in the Mt Desert region. By teaching kids to build traditional wooden boats, IB accomplishes its mission:
Building opportunity, community, and a future for Maine’s working waterfront.
Through the boatbuilding shop, housed in an 800 sq.ft. barn on the Ravenhill’s property, IB has taught the traditional craft of wooden boatbuilding to an average of 60 children each summer, in a 6-8 week summer program. Over 500 individual students have attended over the past 11 years, many attending year after year.
In recent years, Islesford Boatworks has expanded to meet the needs of the community by adding an advanced woodworking program for teens, an evening adult program and, most recently, a Summer Camp Collaboration Program in which local camps join us for a hands-on day of boatbuilding in our shop. Through these programs, IB has been able to better serve the needs of the community, and nearly triples our summer participants.