While out geocaching on Monday, we happened to be near the Marine Star/Aquarama – that big rusting hulk of a ship, moored up next to the grain silos along Route 5. Since I had my camera with me, it seemed like a good chance to try and get up close to the ship. As soon as we walked onto the marina driveway, we were quickly stopped by an employee who then referred us to his boss, who didn’t have any problems with us walking down towards the ship and taking photos, so away we went. For those who haven’t been able to see it up close, here you go.
Afterwards, I was searching around the internet for some history on the ship, and ran across something I hadn’t heard about before. There’s a new group that’s looking to restore the ship and turn it into a floating mission and university.
The Project purpose is firstly to restore the ship Marine Star. And secondly, to convert the Marine Star into an active Mission University at Sea Campus. Imagine a 520 foot 60 year old ship that has only been in use for less than ten years of its history, with its hull preserved in fresh water. This is a ship searching for its destiny.
The Marine Star SEAS School Project has two phases. The first Phase of the Project is dedicated to the preservation and adaptive retrofitting of the WWII era Ship known as the Marine Star, and also known as the Aquarama, during her service on the Great Lakes from 1956 to 1962.
The second Phase of the project will be the establishment of the University at Sea campus and curriculum. That is to carry passengers and carry cargo. These passengers however would not be soldiers or vacationers, but they would be students of all ages enrolled in a Christian Faith based on board accredited school, studying to obtain college credits. The ship when in port, would serve as an active outreach station for the students to apply what they have learned in their classes, in real life sustainable education ways. Even teaching others what you have learned. For example, nursing students would do nursing humanitarian outreaches. Computer students would train others how to do what they have learned and complete selected projects for local schools or businesses. Hydrology students could work with a missionary team to dig wells for those that may have to walk a mile to obtain potable water.
Wow. That’s a big task, but it seems that they have done quite a bit of planning and at least some hunting for funding. Their blog hasn’t had any updates since March, but it seems that there are other similar successful projects that have already been realized. It would certainly be a better option than scrapping it, or letting it sit there continuing to rust.
Incidentally, those silos that sit next to the Marine Star seem to be in pretty good shape, should someone want to turn them into a waterfront attraction of some sort. Think of the awesome waterslides you could have coming out of the top of that thing!