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Maine Maritime Buff Catalogs Vast US Marine History
Jon Johansen leafs through an old maritime newspaper at his home in Winterport, Maine. Thousands of ships over hundreds of years have navigated the rolling waters of Maine's Penobscot River across the street from Jon Johansen's home. Inspired by that history, Johansen set about documenting every ship ever built along the shores of the state's largest river. What started as a modest endeavor has turned into a gargantuan undertaking: Johansen is attempting to create a database of virtually every vessel built in the United States. AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty.

By: Clarke Canfield, Associated Press Writer

WINTERPORT, ME (AP).- Boat enthusiast Jon Johansen has set out on an ambitious and exhaustive task: documenting every ship built in the United States.

For years, the 56-year-old publisher of the monthly Maine Coastal News has catalogued more than 50,000 vessels — from 20-foot lobster boats to seven-masted schooners to modern-day warships.

Eventually, the Winterport, Maine man plans to create a Web site with his gobs of information and call it the International Maritime Library. He says it's his way of helping preserve a part of America's rich maritime past.

He's collected facts about every vessel — their names, when and where they were built, their tonnage and dimensions, and the captains who sailed them. He has scoured libraries, museums, ship registries and old yellowed newspapers and has made audio recordings of some of the old boat builders.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

US Marine History | Jon Johansen | Winterport |

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