Get Gloucester's oldest fishing vessel back afloat

We are asking for your support of the Phyllis A in her hour of need.

At 95 years old, the Phyllis A is Gloucester’s oldest former fishing vessel. It is vital that the Campaign reach its goal of $500,000 in order to save this beautiful vessel.

Currently, we have a goal of $13,200 to get through the annual expenses during the COVID-19 restrictions and then get back to the full restoration. 

Why the Phyllis A?

The Phyllis A is the symbol of what makes Gloucester, Gloucester.

She is a no-frills, hardworking, fishing boat. Built for Albert Arnold, one of the Michigan Bears - a small group of men that brought gillnetting from Charlevoix, Michigan, aiming for success on the east coast. These men worked so hard, other Gloucester fishermen dubbed them Bears and the name stuck throughout the generations. The Michigan Bears shared their knowledge with others in the area and established a new form of fishing for the men of Gloucester.

The Arnold family, owners of the Phyllis A, were known for stepping up and lending a hand to crew and neighbors, when it was needed. For 75 years, Gloucestermen worked with and began careers with the Arnolds and on the Phyllis A. Always starting from Gloucester Harbor, and always returning home safe. During the Depression, the Phyllis A participated in the National Recovery Act. While the program in general failed, for fishermen it was wise and resourceful. If one vessel’s catch exceeded the capacity in their hold, they would raise the NRA flag and another vessel would take the excess, needing to catch less and wasting none. 

The Phyllis A has been a prime model for many maritime artists as well. Her beautiful green hull and maroon wheelhouse can be seen in paintings and photographs around the world. Whether it be a canvas in a local studio, or the ceramic of a bowl auctioned for the Open Door Food Pantry, her warm and unassuming lines say, welcome home.

With work and funding, the Phyllis A will be able to take her story, as an ambassador of Gloucester, to other events in the northeast area. Adding a chapter to the grace and adventure of Gloucester’s schooners and dory-men.

How will we accomplish this great feat?

Since 2006, a growing number of individuals and organizations, who recognize the importance of the project, have been volunteering tirelessly to see our goals met. The Phyllis A Marine Association is a 100% volunteer organization with a grand, long term vision that includes preserving Gloucester’s past, being a good neighbor in our community, and adding benefit to the future. The restoration of the Phyllis A is the first milestone of the organization.

Along with many individuals and smaller foundations, the Phyllis A restoration has been largely funded through Gloucester’s Community Preservation Act. Recently, the State of Massachusetts legislation voted to fund $60,000 to the restoration in fiscal year 2017. 

A complete restoration goal sheet will be uploaded soon.

That’s the goal. $500,000 to get a 95-year-old, historic, wooden vessel back in the water and in shape for visitors! Once that is complete, we will move one to the next phase! But that’s for another day.

How will you be part of history?

The Phyllis A Marine Association is always looking for more people to be part of our project in little ways. We have appreciated every volunteering moment, in-kind donation, and dollar our friends have squeezed into the project.  Now we are at a point where we need to hit this large goal to get the most out of those donation dollars. Now is the time that we need your help by considering a monetary donation to the task at hand.

There are a variety of donation levels where you can participate. Whether you wish to create your own amount or enough to have your name on ten sets of frames, every bit will help reach our goal. 

One of the greatest compliments we have received was to hear a funder say that the Phyllis A Marine Association knows how to stretch a dollar farther than any other group they know. 

If the funding comes from 50,000 people donating $10 or five foundations donating $100,000, your money will be appreciated and used as efficiently as possible.


Amy-Beth Healey
Gloucester, MA
Phyllis A Marine Association
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.

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