The Finger Lakes Boating Museum is a 501(c)(3) non-profit museum in the heart of the Finger Lakes region of New York State. Located at the Southern Tip of Keuka Lake, just south of the Village of Hammondsport, this growing museum has been striving to preserve and share the fascinating boating and boat building heritage of the Finger Lakes and the pivotal role it has played in the development of the region and beyond.
The Early History
The Pat II was built in 1924 in Alexandria Bay by George Blount and George M. “Pat” Comstock as an iconic Thousands Island Tour Boat. The sleek and classy 39’ boat was launched on the St. Lawrence River. By 1926 the Alexandria Bay Village Board had issued a "Permit for Excursion Boats" to the Pat II. She continued service for many years as a tour boat for various lines.
Mail Service on Skaneateles Lake
In 1956, Don Stinson of Stinson Boat Lines bought Pat II in Clayton, NY and brought the boat to Skaneateles Lake. Stinson obtained a contract with the U.S. Postal Service to deliver mail on Skaneateles Lake. The mail route was called "Star Route 13" and delivered mail to the cottages as the roads around the lake were barely passable or non-existent. In 1965, the Stinson Boat Lines discontinued business. In 1968, the Pat II was sold to Peter Wiles, Sr. of Mid-Lakes Navigation.
Transfer of ownership
The Pat II continued service with Mid-Lakes as their operations became much more extensive. The gasoline engine was replaced with a diesel in the mid 1970s. The boat operated on the lake until 1991 when she was finally retired. She had spent an amazing 35 years on Skaneateles Lake!
Mid-Lakes transferred ownership of the boat to Uncle Sam Boat Tours (Alexandria Bay) in 1993. The boat went back North, but plans changed and she was not put back into service. In 1996, the boat was sold to Charlie Snelling, also of Alexandria Bay, but Snelling didn’t get the boat in the water either.
Acquisition by Museum
In 2006, Snelling donated the boat to the Skaneateles Historical Society. By 2010 the Pat II was being stored at Stiver’s Marine on Seneca Lake. There she languished in the “boneyard” until 2013 when the title was transferred to the Finger Lakes Boating Museum. The boat was brought to Hammondsport for restoration. The Finger Lakes Boating Museum felt the Pat II had an important history in the region and wanted to find a way to restore her.
In 2014, the Pat II was moved into the Boating Museum’s current restoration shop. The Museum has been restoring the Pat II since her arrival, and currently has an amazing crew of volunteers working on her every Tuesday and Thursday, led by Boatwright Geoff Heath. These volunteers are currently working on restoring her hull and are hoping not to have to slow down due to dwindling funds for the project. The Museum narrowly missed funding from a highly competitive federal grants program this year and will reapply for next year. Visitors to the museum are encouraged and welcome to tour the Boat Restoration Workshop and discuss ongoing projects with the crew.
The Finger Lakes Boating Museum feels it is important to share the boating heritage of our region with the public. Once completed, our hope is to use the Pat II as our Flagship and Ambassador to the Finger Lakes. We will use the Pat II as a Tour Boat on Keuka Lake and will trailer her to the other Finger Lakes for tours as well. With your help, we will achieve this goal and share our boating heritage with the public!
We are looking to raise $5000 for Phase One of this fundraising effort.
Phase One will bring the restoration of the Pat II up to the point where the boat can be rolled over and we can continue work on the boat bottom.
With $5000 we can accomplish:
-Replacing the rotten butt blocks with new planking and scarfed joints down the water line.
-Installing new bilge stringers.
-Building the shelf and clamp that supports decking.
-Decking stringers; fore, aft and side decks.
-Installing plywood subdecks.
-Building and enstalling engine mounts.
The Finger Lakes Boating Museum is grateful for any amount donated to the Pat II restoration project. We thank you for your interest in restoring this classic Tour Boat and getting her back on the lakes where she belongs. At the $75 level the Museum will offer the donor a special VIP boat cruise on two yet to be determined dates once the Pat II restoration is complete.