Below is the full story of the Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum and the F/V Stephanie, but here is the gist. The F/V Stephanie is an old (1917) wooden fishing boat whose fish and game number was 61. Which means she is the 61st registered commercial fishing vessel in America. Today they are in the 600,000s!
This vessel is not just an important piece of Humboldt County's Maritime History but that of the United States. The Stephanie was abandoned and left to rot at the dock. Our goal is to fund the restoration process for this fine old lady. Please read the rest of our information to fully understand how remarkable this vessel really is and why she deserves to be restored!
Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum:
The Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum was founded in 1977. William Zerlang, a long time collector of marine artifacts, and a group of colleagues sought to establish a local museum to preserve the rich maritime heritage of the entire Humboldt Bay region. Today the Museum serves members, visitors, and researchers throughout the nation.
We are committed to promoting, presenting, and interpreting the North Coast's vibrant maritime heritage to the local residents and visitors through stimulating exhibits and dynamic educational programs. On an ongoing basis, the museum will apply its resources to collect, document, preserve, store, study and display artifacts, works of art and archival material, develop interpretive tours, publications and programs of maritime interest.
With this commitment we are attempting to restore a historic vessel, the Fishing Vessel (F/V) Stephanie from Davy Jones' Locker. The F/V Stephanie was originally built in 1917 by Vittoria Ceuti at the Genoa Boat Building Company in San Francisco and started it's career as the SF International No. 3 as part of the International Fish Company's fleet. Her original Fish and Game number was 61, these numbers are in the hundred thousands now a days. In 1941, the vessel came to Humboldt Bay, California under the ownership of Tom Lazio and was the first vessel to start the famous Lazio fish company. The owner renamed the vessel Stephanie after his daughter. In 1946 in San Francisco, the F/V Stephanie struck disaster for the first time, one crew member left the deck hose overboard which resulted in sinking the vessel. The boat was raised from the bay and continued to fished for the Lazio company until 1952 where she struck a rock in Crescent City, California. She was then sold by the insurance company for a fraction of her worth, to Jack Moskovita and Earl Groat of Oregon. They had her back fishing within a week with no major damage. During her time commissioned in Oregon she struck a log entering Coos Bay where part of her stem had to be replaced to avoid disaster again. In 1964, the F/V Stephanie returned to Eureka under the ownership Karl Enberg. Three generations of Enberg fished the Stephanie out of Humboldt Bay. In 2002 a fire destroyed her wheel house. The family was in the process of rebuilding the wheel house when the health of the owner swayed him to sell the Stephanie's commercial fishing permits back to the Federal Government in 2003.
As a condition of the Federal Buy Back program, the Stephanie could never commercially fish again anywhere in the free world. The F/V Stephanie was sold, and then later abandoned by her new owner. Her engine seized due to neglect and she was left at the dock to rot.
The fate of the Stephanie seemed grim except for one man's childhood love for the Stephanie. Captain Cody Hills fell in love with the F/V Stephanie as a young boy. Over the years of neglect, it has been Captain Cody who has watched over her through storms, bought her new fenders and pumped her out when needed. His love though was not enough to save the Stephanie and over time the wooden planks rotted and she was taking on water more often than not. It seemed the Stephanie was doomed to sink again.
The Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum along with the City of Eureka teamed up with Captain Cody Hills to save the Historic F/V Stephanie. A year ago, the Stephanie was taken by tug boat over to Zerlang & Zerlang Marine Services to be hauled out. The Zerlang & Zerlang Marine Services donated the cost to haul out the vessel along with the labor. The Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum fundraised for seven new planks and 2,000 stainless steal screws. A local marine store donated 5 gallons of bottom paint. She is now able to stay a float and we can all sleep a little bit easier. Even more amazing has been with time and lots of tender loving, the Stephanie's engine has come back to life and she has been able to leave the dock under her own power for the first time in 13 years.
Now you may ask why save an old wooden boat? Why not ship it off to the boat yard. Well our answer to that is love. We at the Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum love this old vessel and want to allow generations to come to explore the F/V Stephanie by taking a dock side tour on her. This will allow individuals to see how life is onboard a fishing vessel, learn about the fishing industry, the importance of fishing for our local community and hopefully stimulate visitors with our same passion and love for all things maritime.
Stephanie's value is not just the wooden planks that hold her together. She is an important part of the local maritime history along with fishing on the west coast.
Eventually we would love to have the Stephanie up and running and providing Whale Watching, bird watching and other educational tours for schools, our community and visitors to the area.
In order to save the F/V Stephanie from Davy Jones Locker we need your help!
For the past year, we have been hard at work fundraising, begging and borrowing trying to save the F/V Stephanie and keep her afloat. Now that the Stephanie is water tight, we need to restore her to keep her that way. We even have a jar out for donations on one of the museum's fleet vessels, the M/V Madaket. Every time we get enough money Captain Cody runs out buy a can of paint and has been slowly painting her- which means we have less than one side painted... we need your help.
Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum is a 501(C)3 non-profit and operates by donations only. All donations through this fundraising campaign will be used to restore the Historic F/V Stephanie. It will cost about $50,000 to restore the Stephanie to her glory. We will keep fundraising until the Stephanie becomes a sight for everyone to see. We thank you in advance for all of your donations.
By providing a donation not only will you get really cool and nifty stuff, but you will save a part of California's Maritime History for generations to come! You can be the person that helps inspire a young child to become a Captain, or a writer who writes the next American novel from walking aboard. You could also just remind someone of the good ole days and how it was back in the day to be a fisherman. After all that is the greatest thing about restoring, preserving and maintaining history- you never know who or what you will inspire or how much impact it will have on someone- just ask Captain Cody. The F/V Stephanie is his love, and one of his goal for getting his license was for one day he could operate the F/V Stephanie. She may never be able to fish again but this old lady has a lot of things she can still do.
"We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going back from whence we came."
- John F. Kennedy
This is not the first wooden boat we have saved. The Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum became the owners, operators and saviors of a wooden ferry boat in 1983. MADAKET is the last survivor of seven original ferries that transported mill workers and families around Humboldt Bay.
After the completion of the Samoa Bridge the ferry boats became obsolete. The M/V Madaket was rescued and saved by a local businessman, and then donated to another non-profited prior to being sold to the Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum. The M/V Madaket was in need of great repair and with fundraising efforts the vessel was restored back to her 1910 glory days. Today she is 103 years-old and going strong. She provides a variety of educational tours, school trips, historic narrated cruises, is used for intimate weddings and much more. She is often the first boat that people have ever been aboard and we love inspiring the maritime passion in children and adults alike. Captain Cody grew up riding around on this vessel and now Captain's her and is part of the crew that maintains her. This lovely wooden vessel shows what can happen when a wooden boat is cared for and loved throughout the years. We are hoping that you can help us to allow the Stephanie to feel the same love and care that she so desperately deserves.
M/V Madaket continues to be the oldest passenger carrying vessel in continuous service in the United States and is a California historic vessel.
Other Ways You Can Help
If you can't financially contribute that is okay, we understand, but there are still ways you can help!
- Please post this page to your Facebook, twitter accounts, e-mail it to friends family members etc.
- Like the F/V Stephanie on Facebook for weekly updates about her restoration and the funding project.
- Check out the Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum located over in Samoa, California next to the Samoa Cook house.
- Put a jar up in your business or at work to collect donations- come on you know you want to all the cool kids are doing it. Well the Humboldt Bay Maritime Museum and the M/V Madaket are but we pretty cool kids.
- Call us at (707) 445-1910 to see about donating your time to scrub, sand, paint, clean and well just love on the old girl.
- If you have any amazing ideas for fundraising let us know!