I have an update on Friendship's status, and a few answers to the frequently asked questions we've been hearing around town.
First, a Q&A:
- Where is she? Friendship is at the Fairhaven Shipyard, which is in southern Massachusetts near New Bedford.
- Why is she gone? Per her US Coast Guard certification, Friendship is required to have an annual haul-out. It's like a physical examination for a large, wooden vessel.
- Why now? It's our busiest season! Making an appointment for a haul-out is not as dependable as making a doctor's appointment. She was originally scheduled to be gone in September, in which case she would have been home in October, but the schedule was delayed by the shipyard schedule. Also worth noting, the last time Friendship was hauled out, a considerable amount of work was needed and she was gone for more than six months - April through October, 2009. Rather than risk that happening again this year, the National Park Service opted to have her haul-out done in the fall. This way another "worst case scenario" would impact Salem Maritime National Historic Site over the winter months, not the summer months.
- What's being done? Friendship is being checked for wear-and-tear, power-washed, and receiving a new paint job above and below the waterline.
These pictures from her haul-out are courtesy nps.gov/sama. She is due back in early November. When the work is done in Fairhaven, she is going to be in port and open for visitation at New Bedford Whaling National Historic Site for two days.
We're really sorry if you came to Salem and missed Friendship. She is a wonderful piece of our waterfront and our maritime heritage. She is also a great ambassador for Salem and the Essex National Heritage Area, so when she isn't here, we will let you know where she is (last summer she was in New York City and Gloucester for different events), and perhaps you can visit her when she is traveling.
I'll let you know when she's due back in Salem. It's always a great photo opp when she comes in on the high tide!