There & Back III: Benny, Tommy & the Donna Marie

by Brian Robbins 

JONESPORT, ME – We’ve written about a lot of boats in Commercial Fisheries News over the years: small boats; big boats; real big boats.

Wooden boats; fiberglass boats; steel boats.

New boats hitting the water and ready to begin their working careers; older classics that have been refurbished, rebuilt, and ready to go back down the bay.

But no one boat – in recent years, anyway – has generated as much interest, in the forms of written correspondence, phone calls, and “Hey, I wanted to ask you about …” questions, as the Donna Marie.

Ironically, the Donna Marie currently sits in a field alongside Rt. 187 as you head to Jonesport, ME after turning off Rt. 1 in Columbia Falls … and it’s been years since her keel’s felt saltwater.

Rust from her fastenings stains her planks; her paint flakes in the sun.

And a quick glance at her from a moving vehicle might not spark a second look; after all, there are plenty old wooden boats just about anywhere you drive in Downeast Maine.

But our first “There & Back” feature with veteran fisherman Tommy Porter in the Jan. 2016 CFN got a lot of folks thinking about the Donna Marie – some remembered her history, but many never knew what that peeling, rust-streaked 45-footer sitting in the field had accomplished in her working years.

We actually did a pair of “There & Back” features with Tommy in 2016 – chock full of stories told as only he can tell ‘em…

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