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    Saturday, September 23, 2023

    Two surplus Navy vessels to be used for Thames River water taxis to arrive Monday

    New London — Two surplus Navy vessels that will be used for water taxi service on the Thames River are expected to arrive here Monday and be prepared for service this coming spring.

    The Thames River Heritage Park transition team, in a news release Wednesday, said the vessels will be transported from a warehouse in Millstone Township, N.J., to Crocker’s Boatyard by Joule Yacht Transport of Clearwater, Fla.

    Crocker’s has donated indoor and outdoor storage space through the winter, where the boats will be outfitted for use as water taxis.

    The water taxi service is a key component of the proposed park, which would link existing historic sites on both sides of the Thames River in New London and Groton under a common theme, programming, signage and other elements.

    The boats are expected to arrive about 2:30 p.m.

    According to the news release, the boats were obtained for $100 each through the efforts of Groton City Mayor Marian Galbraith and Mark Jalbert, a volunteer with the transition team who is a retired Navy diver and currently a contractor at Electric Boat.

    Before being declared surplus, the two 40-foot vessels were used for troop transport.

    One of the boats was assigned to the USS LaSalle, the commander of Middle East Forces in the Persian Gulf in 1988, the news release said. The other boat was assigned to the USS Hunley, a submarine tender homeported in Charleston, S.C.

    “The transportation service within the park will thus reflect the area’s military heritage,” the news release said.


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