Maine Seacoast Mission’s 74-foot telemedicine vessel SUNBEAM V is a crucial connector between the mainland and Maine’s islands, delivering healthcare and other vital services since her launching 24 years ago. When SUNBEAM V was ready for her first major maintenance period, she selected Front Street Shipyard to do the work.
SUNBEAM V travels to Maine’s outermost island communities where healthcare access and mainland resources are limited. The boat is equipped with state-of-the-art telemedicine equipment and staffed by a registered nurse and a team who connect residents with medical and behavioral healthcare professionals. SUNBEAM V and her five-person crew also host fellowships, meals, meetings, weddings, and funerals for islanders.
SUNBEAM V captain Michael Johnson is supervising the refit at Front Street Shipyard. “The boat’s fundamentally sound and serves us well,” said Johnson. The refitting “is the best choice going forward to get another 15, 20, to 25 years out of the SUNBEAM,” he said.
After arriving at Front Street Shipyard in the late spring of 2019, the steel-hulled SUNBEAM V began undergoing extensive hull maintenance, cosmetic updates, and equipment upgrades from stem to stern. The FSS crew started out by removing all of SUNBEAM V’s accommodations in order to reach all areas below deck. They discovered a bit more corrosion than they’d hoped for, but they were able to sandblast the interior to clear the problem areas. A barrier coat will ensure the steel stands up against rust in the years to come.
Front Street Shipyard president JB Turner said, “SUNBEAM V has had a critical role in the health and well-being of Maine island communities for almost a quarter century, and we’re honored to contribute to that ongoing mission through this refit.”
The Mission is also taking advantage of the refit period by requesting cosmetic upgrades and interior redesigns in the wheelhouse, bunk houses, galley, and salon.