Washington College NEWS
Mike Vlahovich, the founder and former director of the Coastal Heritage Alliance, will share his life-long appreciation for wooden boats and the watermen’s culture when he visits Washington College on Tuesday, November 4. Hosted by the Center for Environment & Society, he will speak in Hynson Lounge at 6:00 p.m. with a reception to follow.Vlahovich founded the non-profit Coastal Heritage Alliance (CHA) in 2003 to help preserve the vessels, skills and stories of fishing communities in the United States. Based in St. Michael’s, Maryland, and Gig Harbor, Washington, the CHA leads restoration efforts, conducts research on watermen — their boats and their culture — and offers educational programs for the public.
Vlahovich grew up on the Pacific Northwest coast, where he would eventually work on commercial fishing boats and study to become a master boat builder and restorer. He co-founded the Foss Waterway Seaport in Tacoma in 1994 and five years later received a Washington State Governor’s Art and Heritage Award for his work preserving that state’s commercial fishing heritage and folklore and its traditional craft of wooden boat building.
In Maryland, Vhalovich worked for several years as boatyard manager and director of special projects at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels. He played a pivotal role in the restoration of the last remaining boats in Maryland’s working skipjack fleet, the last commercial sailing fleet in the country. Having stepped down as director of the CHA, he now divides his time between Maryland’s Eastern Shore and Gig Harbor, where he captains the 65-foot charter boat Commencement on natural heritage cruises in Puget Sound, British Columbia, and Southeast Alaska.