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A story of good citizenship and social media in action

Pride of Baltimore II moored at Denis Connor’s North Cove Marina next door to the World Financial Center, Manhattan, New York.

 A not-so-funny, but interesting thing happened on the way out of Boston en route to New York Harbor.

On Tuesday while PRIDE was sailing in Long Island Sound on her way from Boston to New York, I heard from PRIDE’s office staff (we were in cell phone range) that they had just received a call from a woman claiming to have recovered a name board with PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II carved in it with gold leaf letters.  I was informed that a discussion was ongoing about how to get the thing back to the ship. With a puzzled but resigned sense of reality from previous experience, I confirmed the thing to do was get the board to PRIDE’s office, while I walked to the bow with cell phone in hand to confirm that indeed one of two of PRIDE’s bow located name boards was missing. Yep…the starboard “trail board” was missing. Damn! Those things are not simple to create and they are not small…PRIDE is 100 feet long in her hull and her name is long…that name board is 6 feet long by nearly 2 inches thick with 10 inches of width and probably weighs 30 pounds!

Just minutes before I learned this news, the office received a call from Liz Buckley up in Hull Massachusetts, outside of Boston.  Liz had been out walking her dog (in the rain) on Nantasket Beach, where she came upon the name board that had washed up on shore.  Thinking “it looked like it came from a nice boat” Liz lugged the cumbersome board home.  Not being familiar with Pride of Baltimore II she did a web search and came upon PRIDE’s Facebook page and the office contact information.  After talking with Liz and getting her contact information, the office staff pondered how to go about getting this bulky object back to Baltimore.  It’s not an easy thing to pack up and ship.  In the age of social media, the first thought was to post a message to Facebook, while an alternate plan was drawn up.  The message read: 

Pride of Baltimore IIlost one of her name boards off the boat last night. It washed up on Nantasket Beach in Hull, MA. It was found – thankfully – and is in safe hands in Hull MA, near Boston. Now we need to get it back…Anyone headed to New York or Baltimore that could make a detour to pick it up??? Just a thought.” 

Within 30 minutes, we had a positive response ~ Jerry Cross volunteered to pick it up and bring it to the office in Baltimore.  Turns out Jerry, who lives in the Norfolk, VA area, happened to be in Boston for the weekend for a Class Anniversary/Reunion.  And he grew up with Liz…small world.  Jerry would be heading back to VA on Wednesday and was happy to pick up the board outside of Boston and hand deliver it to our office, which is right off of I-95 in Baltimore. 

In the general excitement of the strange and interesting problem that the office staff was handling, it took a little while for certain information of interest to me to come to light, as well how to ship the board to the office. I did not learn that the actual beach of recovery was Nantasket Beach just south of Hull, Massachusetts until last night. This area represents the worst of PRIDE’s bouncing around during her departure from Boston Harbor and her struggle to get around Minot’s Ledge during Monday’s northeast gale offshore of Boston and the Cape. The board must have come off within the first hour of the two hour flounder out to Minot’s Ledge.

Overall this lost and found experience and how it played out speaks volumes of good citizenship and web based social networking. How hard it would have been just a few years ago for Liz to determine who/what PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II was? Plus, even if it was somehow quickly known what PRIDE was and that the name board needed to get to Baltimore, how realistic would it have been to spread the word and find someone in the area that would be making a trip through or near Baltimore was also in a position to hand deliver it to our office while passing by?

I feel coincidences and good citizenship are a very real and valuable part of our lives. It is entirely possible that in the days before the World Wide Web that such a thing as this could have transpired. But the odds would have been so much less likely and certainly would not have transpired nearly as fast. On behalf of the ship, her crew, her not-for-profit managing company’s supporting Board of Directors as well the staff, I do sincerely thank Liz and Jerry for both their good citizenship and their social networking!!!

Jan C. Miles, Captain aboard Pride of Baltimore II