The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk needs a name for its new research vessel – a 65-foot catamaran – and is betting that Norwalk school students can come up with the best idea.
The Aquarium is holding a “Name the Boat” contest that’s open to Norwalk school students in Grades 3-12.
First prize is a free outing aboard the boat for the winning student and his or her immediate family, plus a free IMAX® movie screening for the winner’s entire class. There also will be a runner-up prize, and a randomly selected prize-winner, so everyone has a chance to win.
“Naming a boat is something that sailors take very seriously, because the name should be a good and proper reflection on the boat itself but also on the owner and how the boat is used,” said Jennifer Herring, president of the Maritime Aquarium in a release.
The full contest rules are available on the Aquarium’s website – www.maritimeaquarium.org – under “Fun & Learning/Cruises.” Key points in the rules include:
– the name must be available in the U.S. Coast Guard registry.
– the name has to include the word “Spirit.”
– entries are being taken on a first-come, first-served basis. If there is more than one entry with the name that is chosen, the student who submitted it first is the winner.
– entries must be submitted by Nov. 27.
The contest runner-up will win a guided Aquarium tour for his or her school class, and also a free Aquarium visit (plus IMAX tickets) for up to 10 family members and friends. Another lucky student, chosen at random, will win four free tickets for the Aquarium and IMAX Theater.
The Maritime Aquarium’s $2.7 million, 65-foot catamaran is being built at the Robert E. Derecktor Inc. shipyard in Mamaroneck, N.Y., and is expected to make its debut at the Aquarium dock in late spring.
The new research vessel will be bigger and quieter than the Aquarium’s current 34-year-old trawler. The catamaran will be powered by a hybrid diesel-electric propulsion system made by Northern Lights, Inc., which will reduce diesel fuel consumption by an estimated 75 percent. The new boat will have a climate-controlled indoor classroom and an outdoor research space with total capacity of 65, more than twice that of the Aquarium’s current 40-foot boat.
The Maritime Aquarium uses its research vessel from April through October for Marine Life Study Cruises, during which crabs, mollusks and a variety of fish and other creatures are brought up out of Long Island Sound for examination. From December through March, the vessel is used for seal-watching programs called Winter Creature Cruises. Students on field trips participate in the cruises during the week. On weekends, the cruises are open to the public.
(The boat-naming contest is open to Grades 3-12 because that is the age range for the Aquarium’s educational programming aboard its research vessel.)
Major contributors toward the new boat include: George and Carol Bauer of Wilton; The TK Foundation of Nassau, Bahamas; and the Per and Astrid Heidenreich Family Foundation of Greenwich.
Herring said the donors decided together to give the chance of naming the boat to Norwalk students, who will be among those who will benefit from it the most. They only asked that “Spirit” be in the name, she added.
Fund-raising and planning for the new research vessel was led by a special committee of naval architects, marine engineers and Aquarium staff members led by Per Heidenreich, founder of Norwalk-based Heidmar, Inc., one of the world’s leading commercial tanker operators.Other local shipping experts on the committee are: Robert Kunkel, president of Alternative Marine Technologies; Peter Drakos, a leading maritime lawyer; and Blaine Collins, director of external affairs at Det Norske Veritas.