Group makes Milford mini boats shipshape

Volunteer Brenda Bouton cleans a Augusta Boat on the River walk in Milford on Friday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

MILFORD — Friday morning was a good time for a bath.

Marcia Reid, owner of Gallery 37 in Milford, and five others spent about two hours cleaning the Augusta boats that line Milford’s Riverwalk.

The fiberglass boats, 18 in all, are miniature replicas of the 1927 luxury yacht The Augusta, that was built and sailed out of the Vinyard Shipyard on the banks of the Mispillion River off Columbia Street.

The idea of decorating the Riverwalk with the multi-colored boats sprang from the mind of former Downton Milford Inc. Executive Director Lee Nelson about five or six years ago.

Kathy Rhuel Stetson cleans one of the Augusta boats along the Milford Riverwalk Sunday (Submitted photo/Marcia Reid)

They were done over the course of three years by area artists. Ms. Reid decorated one of the final six boats about three years ago.

“They have to be painted with acrylic, a water base, and then they have to have a varnish lacquer on them so that they can stay out all winter and everything,” Ms. Reid said.

Over the years, they have gotten pretty dirty and Ms. Reid and a few friends decided to do something about it on Friday.

Marcia Reed, left, and Downtown Milford Inc. Executive Director Trish Gerken work together Friday. (Submitted photo)

Earlier this month, she and her husband were out for a walk and noticed they were in need of a good scrubbing and they did about seven that day, said Ms. Reid, who lives right above her gallery on Walnut Street.

She posted a few photos of their efforts on her Facebook page and asked if there were any other Milford residents who would like to lend a hand.

‘These are all up and down the Riverwalk, and there’s a variety of them. I take walks all the time and I have cleaned them before many times and so my husband and I were walking a couple of weeks ago and I said ‘Look at these. These are disgusting,’” Ms. Reid said.

“We did seven of them and I didn’t want to do all 18. I didn’t have time. And I put a Facebook post out and said ‘Hey, it would be nice if some other people maybe wanted to volunteer to clean them. So that’s how this happened.”

She received help Friday from volunteers Susan Schadie, Doreen Bender, Kathy Rhuel Stetson, Brenda Bouton and current Downtown Milford Inc. Executive Director Trish Gerken, who provided towels, buckets, cleaner and other products.

“We had our little toothbrushes out and there was a lot of grime, especially if they were located under a tree. They have sap and all kinds of mold and everything.
They’re gleaming right now,” she said proudly.

She hopes that this can become a regular thing, maybe twice a year, to help keep the artistic treasures sparkling.

Ms. Reid said the location of her home and gallery puts her right in the middle of the action.

“I’m right downtown so I see the whole area from my backyard, front yard, side yard. I see it all. I feel responsible for these things if they aren’t cleaned,” she said with a laugh.