Connecticut River Museum Purchase of RiverQuest to expand educational offerings

ESSEX—The Connecticut River Museum and Connecticut River Expeditions recently reached an agreement for the museum to purchase the Haddam-based CRE ship RiverQuest, which will now be moored at the Steamboat Wharf at the foot of Main Street.

Captain Mark Yuknat and his wife Mindy had the RiverQuest built in 2001 for use as an educational floating classroom for the museum, according to a press release.

It operated at the museum dock until 2010 when their berth was moved to Eagle Landing State Park in Haddam, where they offered nature cruises. the adventurewas added to the fleet in 2017 and will still offer cruises from Eagle Landing State Park with their son Alex as captain, according to the press release.

“Mindy and I enjoy the scenic beauty and wildlife of the river, and we enjoy sharing our knowledge and life experiences,” Mark Yuknat said in a prepared statement.

The sale will allow the couple to downsize, the statement said.

There are plans to build a 30ft by 12ft aluminum research vessel which he designed and named the R/V Keeper. It will also be able to navigate shallow waters to retrieve trash and debris along the Connecticut River.

The R/V Keeper will be built by Chester Boatworks of Chester and is expected to be operational at Eagle Landing State Park by fall.

“Our love for the river has led us to stewardship and education,” the captain said in the statement. The new vessel will clean up rivers and support the eradication of invasive plants.

The museum offers exhibits and programs on the history and environment of the river. “This new venture will expand our ability to develop public and educational programs,” said CEO Jennifer Carlson.

Captain Dan Thompson, director of nautical operations, and his team will pilot the 64-foot vessel along with the museum’s other boat, the Onrust, a recreation of the Adriaen Block ship built in 1614.

For more information, email [email protected] or call 860-662-0577. Contact Cathy at the museum at 860-767-8269, Ext. 118.

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