Merrohawke Nature School enjoys the use of six different passenger vessels in Newburyport, depending on the needs of a particular class or program. All are inspected annually by the U.S. Coast Guard. All licensed captains and crew share our insistence that the safety and happiness of kids is the top priority.
As these vessels are licensed for carrying passengers and built specifically to do so with high railings and other safety design measures, children are not required to wear lifejackets while onboard, just as when traveling onboard ferries and whale watching boats. Each vessel carries numerous life jackets and other required safety gear in case of emergency. We are happy to accommodate the wishes of parents who would like their child to wear a life jacket during program hours. When transporting older kids ashore to islands and beaches in smaller boats, children do wear lifejackets that we provide.
F/V Erica Lee
She is the flagship of Merrohawke Nature School and BOAT CAMP originated aboard her. Built in 1980 by Capt. Rob’s father for use as a commercial fishing vessel, she later evolved into primary use as a passenger vessel for deep sea fishing and children’s programs.
She is a 42-foot Bruno-Stillman design and U.S. Coast Guard certified to carry 28 passengers and 2 crew. She is privately owned by Captains Rob and Kate Yeomans and leased exclusively for the season by Merrohawke.
Captain’s Fishing Parties & Captain’s Lady boats
In response to community demand, we expanded in 2011 to include programs aboard passenger vessels owned by the Charos family on Plum Island. Depending on the day, our destination and the nature of our programming—summer programs or school floating lab programs—we may use any of their four boats: 65’ Captain George, 78’ Captain’s Lady, 90’ Captain’s Lady II and the 106’ Captain’s Lady III. The Charos family has run a top-notch passenger boat business on Plum Island since 1973, and their boats are among the best run vessels on the seacoast.
She is a perfect platform for our river-based programs for younger kids. We use the Yankee Clipper for Friday harbor tours with our Song Sparrows program, and several days each week for our Green Crabs and Ospreys programs. With her shallow draft and stable decks, she can scoot us all along the Merrimack River estuary. She is owned by Capt. Paul Aziz, an environmental educator who shares our passion for teaching kids about the great outdoors.
Lowell’s Boat Shop
Students participating in our Green Crabs, Ospreys and some specialty group programs may spend a day on the water rowing dories hosted by Lowell’s Boat Shop. Time on the water in hand-built wooden boats propelled only by oars and determination is a terrific way to connect to the unique heritage of our coastal community and the beauty of the Merrimack River.