A Voyage Through 2023

This past year was one of progress, growth, and connection – bringing us closer to the communities we serve across Casco Bay. As we set sail into a new chapter, Casco Bay Lines is reflecting on the milestones and moments that defined the last year. Join us as we take a voyage through 2023 and recap the memories along the way! 

2023 presented a wide variety of ways for Casco Bay Lines to connect with our community – from industry events and panels to cruising concerts! In March, members of our crew met with future graduates of both Maine Maritime Academy and Massachusetts Maritime Academy at their respective job fairs. We had a great time connecting with students, learning about their career aspirations and discussing CBL’s career opportunities. In July, we kicked off our 2023 “Cruising Casco Bay Summer Concert Series” in partnership with 98.9 WCLZ and sponsored by Three of Strong Spirits. From July 20th to August 24th, Casco Bay Lines welcomed Pete Kilpatrick, Spencer Albee, Gina and the Red Eye Flight Crew, Dominic Lavoie, and the Kenya Hall Band for five great nights of live, local music aboard the Bay Mist. Thank you to all our musicians and attendees for making our 2023 series one of the best yet! Then in September, Casco Bay Lines presented at the New England-Canada Business Council (NECBC) to share ideas on the growth of electric vehicle expansion in New England, discussing our unique approach to the electrification of marine and tourism transportation in Maine! 

On a similar note, Casco Bay Lines made significant strides in replacing two of our fleet’s aging vessels as part of our “Fleet Evaluation” project throughout 2023. Construction of the Machigonne II replacement vessel made major progress at Senesco Marine in Rhode Island, and officially received a new name! With work kicking off in 2018, the brand-new passenger and vehicle ferry will feature a diesel-electric hybrid propulsion system, utilizing battery technology, to reduce carbon emissions and improve the experience for passengers. The vessel is being constructed in 10 modules, with final welding currently ongoing for modules two, three, and four. As work continues at the shipyard, the propulsion provider, ABB, has begun work on the electrical hybrid portion of the vessel. In the fall of 2023, the Casco Bay Lines Board of Directors voted to name the new vessel, “Battery Steele”, in reference to the vessel’s battery-powered technology and to the beloved historic military fort on Peaks Island. As construction continues, the Battery Steele is expected to join the fleet later this year! Alongside the anticipated introduction of the Battery Steele, Casco Bay Lines made progress on the replacement vessel for the Maquoit II, which will also feature battery technology. Following a competitive RFP process earlier on in 2023, Bristol Harbor Group Inc. was selected as the naval architect and began the preliminary design process! Stay tuned and check out the latest updates on our “Fleet Evaluation” project page. 

We introduced a few new faces to the CBL team in 2023, including Laurie Bowie, our Director of Finance and Human Resources! With her extensive experience in financial management, staff development, strategic planning and human resources, Laurie joined CBL with a wealth of knowledge and expertise. We also said bon voyage to some beloved team members as they sailed into retirement – General Manager, Hank Berg, Captain Bill Wanzer, and Assistant Operations Manager, Roki Horr. Hank’s 14-year journey with Casco Bay Lines has made a lasting impact on our company, team, and community. Bill has sailed with Casco Bay Lines since 1990, creating connections and making memories with our riders over the last 34 years. Roki Horr joined the crew in 2002 as Assistant Operations Manager, improving processes and operations across the board during his 22-year tenure. Thank you, Hank, Bill, and Roki, for your commitment to Casco Bay Lines, and we wish you three smooth sailing as you head into your next adventure! 

Right in time for the holiday season, Casco Bay Lines was proud to “play” a part in the new, Portland edition of Monopoly! Released in 2023, this limited-edition board featured Casco Bay Lines and a wide array of notable landmarks across our city. Hoping to snag your own for a future gift idea or just because? We still have a select number of Portland Monopoly boards available for purchase at our terminal! 

As we chart our course for the rest of 2024, we feel especially thankful for our Casco Bay Lines community and for all the memories we’ve made together. Here’s to the new year!