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Friends of Casco Bay add boat named for baykeeper

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Friends of Casco Bay add boat named for baykeeper

YARMOUTH — A local environmental group christened its newest research boat Thursday, Sept. 12, at the Yankee Marina & Boatyard.

More than 200 people turned out for the christening of R/V Joesph E. Payne, "the newest pollution-fighting tool" for Friends of Casco Bay – a South Portland-based conservation group, according to a news release.

The vessel – a Maine-built, lobster-style boat – will be used for various projects on Casco Bay, everything from "investigating a mysterious plume of pollution to keeping tabs on developments near the Bay to collecting scientific data," the release said.

The Joesph E. Payne replaces the aging Donovan's Delight, which was donated to the organization in 1993, and is the fourth vessel for the group. The new boat has a reinforced bow and stern to break through ice and is "fast enough to complete a 75-mile circuit around the Bay to collect data during the short daylight hours of winter," the group said.

The new boat is named for Joe Payne, the organization's so-called baykeeper, who has been "the eyes, ears, and voice of Casco Bay," since 1991, according to the group.

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine,  said the name is a tribute to Payne's "tireless work in protecting the resources of the Bay."