Friday, April 16, 2010

College to Christen Research Vessel "Callinectes" Saturday, April 17

CHESTERTOWN –Washington College has exciting plans for the Callinectes, the new research vessel it will christen Saturday, April 17, at 1:30 p.m. at the foot of High Street in Chestertown.

Named after Maryland’s famous blue crab species, Callinectes sapidus, the 46-foot fiberglass boat was designed for teaching and research on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. It was built by Chesapeake Boats in Crisfield, Md., with generous grant funding from the U.S. Department of Education. Callinectes can carry 35 passengers and is fully equipped with the latest electronics and environmental instrumentation, including trawls, sonar, acoustic seabed classification systems, magnetometers and positioning systems.

“This vessel will provide college undergraduates, faculty and research scientists a platform for exploring the nation’s largest estuary,” says John Seidel, Director of the Center for Environment & Society and chair of the sociology and anthropology departments at Washington College. It also will serve high-school teachers and students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs, he adds.

Over the next few months, the vessel will complete the certification process with the U.S. Coast Guard and do survey work on the Chester River, with teaching opportunities for high school and college students. By fall, it will be ready for Washington College classes in biology, chemistry and environmental studies.

The christening ceremony, which is open to the public, will include remarks from former U.S. Congressman Wayne Gilchrest and the Maryland director of the Chesapeake Bay Commission, Matthew P. Mullin. Washington College First Lady Sarah Tipson will share actual christening honors with Elizabeth Seidel, director of the Archeology Laboratory. A reception will follow.
For more information, contact the Center for the Environment and Society at Washington College, 101 S. Water Street, Chestertown, Md., 21620, (410) 810-7161 or visit the web at

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