In 2017, board members of the Friends of Pleasant Bay and Pleasant Bay Community Boating began brainstorming with scientists from the Center for Coastal Studies to create the perfect on-the-water teaching platform. The solution was an aluminum pontoon boat, originally powered by twin gas outboards. The premise was to teach ecology from the water, so the plan evolved quickly to the smaller carbon footprint of all-electric outboards charged by solar panels. The design and construction began in 2018 with funds raised through the generosity of the FOPB membership.
The result was the Floating Classroom research Vessel (FCRV) Friend of Pleasant Bay, a 37-foot pontoon boat powered by twin electric outboards and charged by solar panels. Building the vessel would turn out to be the easy part. It took three years of tenaciously hard work and cooperation working with architect David Walworth of Walworth Yacht Designs in St. Croix and the US Coast Guard in Washington, DC to get the design approved. This was a first of its kind challenge for the USCG, and for the Friends of Pleasant Bay.
On June 19, 2021, Lt. Aaron Vanhuysen, OCMI USCG, presented FOPB with the official Certificate of Inspection. The ownership of FCRV Friend of Pleasant Bay was then transferred to Pleasant Bay Community Boating and saw its first full season that summer. The Friend of Pleasant Bay is the ONLY all-electric floating classroom in the United States, but it has surely paved the way for others.
The FCRV Friend of Pleasant Bay has been in use by Pleasant Bay Community Boating since 2021. It continues to serve as a state-of-the-art platform for students of all ages to witness the beauty and diversity of Pleasant Bay.