Students’ drift boat makes landfall


A 4-foot drift boat named the “Red Storm,” which was launched on behalf of students in Scarborough schools in February, made landfall in Ireland on July 31 – six months and five days after leaving the East Coast.

Prior to its launch off the Georges Bank by lobstermen aboard the “Gladys Elaine” on Feb. 6, the drift boat was on display at all of Scarborough’s six schools.

That’s when students learned about the i-boat program, sponsored by Educational Passages, and how to track the vessel, named in honor of the school district’s mascot.

The Educational Passages website said the “Red Storm” landed on the island of Arranmore, located near the northwest corner of Ireland nearly two weeks ago.

She was found by Irish Language College students, who range in age from 11 to 17. The group came to Arranmore from all across Ireland to improve their spoken Irish skills.

The goal now is for the “Red Storm” to be on display at the Irish Language College when it re-opens for classes this fall.

In 2008 sailor Dick Baldwin started Educational Passages after completing his lifelong dream of making several solo voyages. The goal of the program is to educate youngsters about the world’s oceans, according to the nonprofit’s website.

Educational Passages attaches small satellite transceivers to miniature boats of all shapes. The boats are designed to journey with the ocean’s winds and currents. In the past seven years, Educational Passages has grown to include an expanded audience.

“There are now people of all ages tracking the boats and involved in various stages of education, launch, recovery and outreach,” the Educational Passages website states. “Clubs, schools, libraries, individuals and foundations have all joined in the mission.”

See for more information, including a tracking map of where the “Red Storm” went on its journey across the Atlantic.

– Kate Irish Collins

After being launched in the Georges Bank area of the Gulf of Maine in February, this drift boat, named the “Red Storm,” made landfall in Ireland on July 31. Courtesy photo