The Ernestina Network

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1. Schooner Ernestina Commission

  • Comprised of nine commissioners (currently seven active) appointed by the Governor.
  • Authority and responsibility, “… to hold, administer, operate, preserve and maintain …,” the Schooner Ernestina
  • Authority to contract to private or not-for-profit entities operations and maintenance of the vessel
  • Responsible for the business plan for operation, preservation and maintenance of the vessel
  • Placed within and to work jointly with the DCR, “… so that operational and managerial responsibilities … follow state policies.”
  • Not a budgetary line agency, but with authority over a State trust account representing net proceeds of operations and  tax-deductible contributions or grants

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2. Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)

  • With 450,000 acres, DCR is steward of one of the largest state parks systems in the country.        
  • Statutory placement of Schooner Ernestina Commission
  • Currently exercises all administrative and management responsibility and oversight for budgeting, operations, contracting, public relations, maintenance and capital restoration of Schooner Ernestina and its staff
  • Operating budgets and capital investment funds have provided operational and capital funding
  • Through Historic Curatorship Program, could facilitate Schooner Ernestina Commission granting a long-term lease or charter of ship

3. Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC)

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  • Ernestina is a State and National Historic Landmark, and listed in the State and National Registers of Historic Places
  • Her maintenance and upkeep must be conducted according to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Historic Vessel Preservation.
  • MHC reviews Ernestina projects under the state regulations or federal regulation process as a consulting party.
  • MHC will continue to review and comment in writing on proposed projects to make sure that they are conducted consistently with the Standards

4. United States Coast Guard

  • Enforces federal law and regulations concerning Ernestina’s safety and operations for any “USCG Certificated” service.

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  • Certificated service can be for; operation as a dockside attraction, small passenger vessel, or sailing school vessel
  • Determines under federal regulations as conditions for operating under each Certificate of Inspection (COI) specific aspects of operation including minimum crew composition, number of students or passengers which may be carried, the distance from shore or safe harbor of refuge to which the vessel may operate, sails she may hoist
  • Inspects and must approve work done to restore the vessel from the standpoint of seaworthiness and safety as a condition for the issuance of COI’s, not historical accuracy.
  • May require modifications of materials, internal configuration or systems to meet requirements for the COI.
  • Ernestina is currently certificated as a “Dockside Attraction” vessel.

5. New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park

  • Ernestina is a statutory component of the Park

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  • Features Ernestina in permanent display, interpretive signage and waterfront tours, hosts Ernestina related programming
  • The Park and National Park Service (NPS) have provided expertise, consultative services, and  programming related funding
  • Current statute restricts Park funding of operations or maintenance of Ernestina
  • Other NPS programs have provided documentation funding and $500K restoration funding through Save America’s Treasures Grant

6. Schooner Ernestina-Morrissey Association (SEMA)

  • Private, not-for-profit corporation with IRS 501(c)(3) public charity status

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  • Formed in 2008 to raise and provide funds for restoration and operation of Ernestina and its programming
  • Potential operating entity for programming or vessel operations
  • Currently public voice of friends of Ernestina
  • No MOU with Schooner Ernestina Commission or DCR
  • Could have cooperation agreement with New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park