EASTPORT, Maine — A prestigious distance-learning boat design school and The Boat School of Eastport are now sharing space at The Boat School’s Cobscook Bay campus.
The Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology, the oldest boat design school in the U.S., will join the established Boat School, an affiliate of Husson University, on Moose Island. The two entities have nearly identical goals but will remain separate.
“There will be a few joint programs, such as seminars,” Caryn Vinson of The Boat School said.
She said Boat School students would be able to see firsthand how they can continue to pursue their maritime education beyond the Husson program.
Vinson said Westlawn graduates obtain a naval architectural degree. Founded in 1930, Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology is the only nationally accredited distance-learning school of small-craft design in the U.S. It is the not-for-profit educational affiliate of the American Boat and Yacht Council and has more than 200 students worldwide.
The Boat School and its campus were part of a June inspection to certify the arrangement by the Distance Education and Training Council, based in Washington, D.C.
Westlawn moved into the offices in Eastport in January. Although it will have its headquarters in Washington County, Westlawn maintains a research facility at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut.
In early July, Westlawn Institute received its revised certificate of accreditation from DETC, completing Westlawn’s official move to Eastport.
DETC executive director Mike Lambert personally conducted the site inspection of the Westlawn Institute office on the second floor of the Boat School shop building.
After reviewing Westlawn’s operations and setup with Westlawn director Dave Gerr, Lambert also toured the shop and classroom facilities of The Boat School, guided by Boat School instructor Brian Duffy.
“The synergies between the boat-centric city of Eastport, The Boat School and Westlawn are already producing results, with Westlawn staff providing guest lecturers to the Boat School,” Lambert wrote in his report to the DETC accrediting committee.
“Not only is the Eastport area and The Boat School a perfect fit for Westlawn Institute but everyone we’ve met in Eastport has been incredibly helpful,” Westlawn director Dave Gerr said in a statement.
He credited city and Boat School officials as well as local business owners with making Westlawn feel welcome.
“We chose Eastport as the best fit for Westlawn’s mission and we’re proud to be new citizens of the city of Eastport,” Gerr said.