LUBEC, Maine — A small group of community members and leaders gathered Tuesday night around a new bench and sign at what eventually will become the Lost Fishermen’s Memorial Park. The park overlooks Cobscook Bay, where since 2006 eight area fishermen have been lost at sea.
The group, many in tears, raised glasses of cider high and toasted sons, friends and neighbors who have been lost.
Leading them was David Cline, the father of Daryl Cline of Machiasport to whom the bench is dedicated. Daryl Cline was lost at sea in October 2009 when the fishing vessel he was on sank in Cobscook Bay. Two other fishermen also drowned in that incident, one of what the townspeople called “too many over the years.”
In less than four years, 10 fishermen have been lost from Campobello Island and White Head Island in nearby New Brunswick and the Lubec area of Maine.
Shelly Tinker, one of the committee’s leaders, said that fundraising for the park and a statue dedicated to the lost fishermen is going slowly. In the past year, about $27,000 has been raised with a goal of $200,000.
Tinker said a golf tournament helped this summer, along with the sale of T-shirts. Now the committee will begin selling personalized paving stones in memory or in honor of loved ones. The stones eventually will surround the memorial’s statue.
Choking back tears as she dedicated the park, Tinker said the process will be long and hard but must be pursued.
“We must honor their memories,” Tinker said.
The bench at the park was purchased with some of the donated funds. Etched into the black granite are Daryl Cline’s name and an image of a scallop dragger.
“It’s really beautiful, isn’t it?” his father said, rubbing his hand over the polished surface. “I come here all the time and just visit him.”
Cline said he was one of the lucky ones because his son’s body was recovered after the sinking. “There are others that are still waiting and need closure,” he said.
When completed, the memorial will contain a statue of a woman looking out to sea, and the names of lost fishermen will be inscribed on the base. Fishermen from Maine and New Brunswick will be included on the memorial.
The site is expected also to have gardens and additional benches for contemplation.
For information about the project, call Tinker at 733-2578 or go to the Lost Fishermen’s Memorial page on Facebook.