National Historic Landmark at Mystic Seaport is Oldest Coal-Fired Vessel Operating on a Regular Schedule in U.S.
Mystic, Conn. (July 31, 2017) — Mystic Seaport announced today it will resume operating its steamboat Sabino for public cruises on the Mystic River Wednesday, August 2. The vessel has been under restoration in the Museum’s Henry B. duPont Preservation Shipyard for more than two years and is the oldest coal-fired steamboat in regular operation in the United States. Mystic Seaport operates her as a working exhibit providing passengers with an authentic early 20th century steamboat experience.
“We are very proud to return Sabino to work on the Mystic River as she has done for more than 40 years. As the only one of our four National Historic Landmark vessels we regularly operate, she is the best example of our philosophy of preservation and active use,” said Steve White, president of Mystic Seaport.
Sabino will operate six days a week from the Mystic Seaport waterfront through October 9. There will be three cruises per day: a 30-minute upriver cruise for $8 per person at 2:30 p.m., a 90-minute downriver cruise to the mouth of the Mystic River for $18 per person at 3:30 p.m., and a two-hour downriver cruise at 5:30 p.m. for $25 per person. There will also be a two-hour downriver cruise at 11:30 a.m. on Sundays for $25 per person. The boat will not operate on Tuesdays.
Museum admission is not required for downriver cruises; it is required for the 30-minute cruise. Children 3 and younger ride for free, but they must have a ticket to board. Tickets can be purchased up to two weeks in advance by calling 860.572.5331.
Sabino can carry 74 passengers and is available for group charters.
Sabino was built in 1908 in East Boothbay, Maine, and spent most of her career ferrying passengers and cargo between Maine towns and islands. She is 57 feet long and has a beam of 23 feet. Her hull is constructed of wood and she is powered by a 75-horsepower two-cylinder compound steam engine. The engine is the original power plant that was installed in 1908 and was manufactured by the J. H. Paine & Son Co. in nearby Noank, Connecticut. Steam is generated by a coal-fired boiler. Sabino came to Mystic Seaport in 1973 and she was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1992.
The recent restoration began in December 2014 and addressed a number of issues around the vessel, including reframing much of the stern, replacing the keel bolts, installing new planking and decking, and restoring portions of the superstructure. In addition, numerous mechanical and systems upgrades were carried out, most notably the fabrication and installation of a new boiler to meet modern safety and regulatory requirements. The restoration is expected to keep Sabino in operation for at least the next 25 to 30 years.
Financial support for the project was provided by a combination of private philanthropy and public grants, including $172,125 from the Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office, $149,318 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and a National Maritime Heritage Grant of $199,806 administered by the National Park Service in partnership with the U.S. Maritime Administration.
About Mystic Seaport
Mystic Seaport is the nation’s leading maritime museum. Founded in 1929, the Museum is home to four National Historic Landmark vessels, including the Charles W. Morgan, America’s oldest commercial ship and the last wooden whaleship in the world. The Museum’s collection of more than two million artifacts includes more than 500 historic vessels and one of the largest collections of maritime photography in the country. The newly opened Thompson Exhibition Building provides a state-of-the-art gallery to host compelling, world-class exhibitions, beginning with the current show SeaChange. The Collections Research Center at Mystic Seaport provides scholars and researchers from around the world access to the Museum’s renowned archives. Mystic Seaport is located one mile south of Exit 90 off I-95 in Mystic, CT. Admission is $28.95 for adults ages 15 and older and $18.95 for children ages 4-14. Museum members and children three and younger are admitted free. For more information, please visit https://mysticseaport.wpengine.com/ and follow Mystic Seaport on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.