Schooner Bowdoin

The schooner Bowdoin has visited the Arctic twenty-eight times!

The schooner was designed by naval architect William Hand and built in East Boothbay, Maine, for explorer and researcher Donald MacMillan. MacMillan specifically commissioned the eighty-eight-foot ship in 1921 to explore the Arctic. He was best known for promoting the use of radios and electricity in the Arctic, creating a dictionary of the Inuktitut language, and taking thousands of pictures and films on his research trips. The schooner was named for MacMillan’s alma mater, Bowdoin College.

The U.S. Navy purchased the Bowdoin in 1941 for use during World War II. She was assigned to the “Greenland Patrol” where she helped establish airfields in Greenland and perform hydrographic surveys. The Bowdoin was de-commissioned in 1943 but was soon repurchased by MacMillan and later preserved by the Schooner Bowdoin Association. Purchased by Maine Maritime Academy in 1988 as a sail-training vessel, the Bowdoin still carries students and researchers northward.


The ship was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989 and is Maine’s official state vessel.

Please note that the Schooner Bowdoin is not always docked in the Castine Harbor. For more information, please visit the Maine Maritime Academy website: