2022 was one for the books. Our year of trying to get back to “normal” was anything but normal! We struggled right alongside other business in the area to maintain a full, healthy crew and handle year three of pandemic-related challenges. But there were also so many highlights! And while we’re looking forward to what 2023 has in store for us, we wanted to take a moment to pause and reflect on all the triumphs and memories of last year. So, let’s dive in!
For Casco Bay Lines, 2022 marked our 40th year of providing reliable service to passengers to and from the islands! While CBL had technically been transporting passengers for over 150 years, the Casco Bay Island Transit District (CBITD) officially took over on March 26th, 1982. To celebrate, we spent the month of March reminiscing about our favorite memories – and encouraging our passengers to share their favorite moments riding with CBL! We connected with longtime friend of Casco Bay Lines, Peter Murray, who shared his firsthand experience representing the Casco Bay Island Development Association in their efforts to form the Casco Bay Island Transit District and maintain transportation to the islands. We also invited passengers to share their favorite memories on social media through our #FeelingFerry40 photo contest. Three winners were then drawn at random to receive a limited edition 40th anniversary tote bag packed with goodies from some local favorites – including Crown Jewel, Maine Maritime Museum, Down Front, Sea Bags, Amtrak Downeaster, and Shipyard Brewing!
This year brought TONS of progress on critical Casco Bay Lines projects! On August 16th, we held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of our Terminal Renovation Project, with Senator Susan Collins among many local figures in attendance. This project was split into three phases, with phases two and three as the focus for last year. The goal? Updating the CBL terminal to accommodate an increase in annual visitors (more than double the amount the original design was intended for!) and to enhance its overall long-term operational capabilities. Improvements included adding a second floor over the admin area to free up more space down below for freight and our Maintenance Shop, adding length to the existing pier, reconfiguring pedestrian access to improve safety and ease of access, expanding existing marine infrastructure, and completing outstanding marine repairs. Phew!
In other news, 2022 marked significant progress for our “Fleet Evaluation” project as we continued efforts to replace two of our aging vessels! CBL selected Senesco Marine of North Kingston, Rhode Island as the shipyard to build the replacement for the Machigonne II with a new diesel-electric hybrid vessel to service Peaks Island, marking the official start of our construction phase. The new ferry is expected to begin serving passengers in 2024! At the beginning of 2022, CBL secured $3.6 million in competitive grant funds to replace the Maquoit II with another diesel-electric hybrid propulsion system – eliminating an estimated 1,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions annually over the new vessel’s 30-year lifespan! This year, we’ll begin the design process. Stay tuned and keep an eye out for updates on our “Fleet Evaluation” project page!
2022 presented several unique ways for us to connect with our Casco Bay community! After a two-year hiatus, we finally brought back our “Cruising Casco Bay Summer Concert Series” and partnered with 98.9 WCLZ to feature five incredible local bands on the open water over the course of the summer! Don Campbell Band, Jason Spooner Band, Kenya Hall Band, Gina and the Red Eye Flight Crew, and Pete Kilpatrick all jumped aboard the Bay Mist and played live music for hundreds of grooving attendees as we sailed Casco Bay, taking in the sights and sounds! We also had the opportunity to team up with Impact Melanoma and Maine Cancer Foundation to reflect on the importance of sun safety – providing
free sunscreen dispensers around our terminal and aboard our vessels. An initiative near and dear to our CBL family and one we hope to continue for years to come!
Finally, we’d like to take a moment to toot our own horn (har har) and highlight some media attention we received this past year! Casco Bay Lines was voted “Best Boat/Cruise Excursion” by DownEast Magazine’s “Best of Maine” issue – what an honor! Our ferries were also featured in several news articles, including a hybrid-electric passenger ferry spotlight in Marine Log Magazine’s “Ferries of the Future” and a fun writeup from the Press Herald on Portland’s “62+ Program” boarding the Wabanaki for our historic Mailboat Run!
As always, we’re grateful for the continued support from our Casco Bay Lines community and are looking forward to what the remainder of 2023 will bring!