Blog : Introducing the new Isles of Shoals Steamship Company!

By Katie | Jun 4, 2014 | in

Had it not already developed a strong following in the Seacoast, and even beyond, the Portsmouth-harbor-staple the Isles of Shoals Steamship Company could pass as a new business in Portsmouth. From the company’s fresh, new logo, with its recognizable flagship the M/V Thomas Laighton, to the debut of a smaller passenger boat, the M/V Celia Thaxter, Isles of Shoals Steamship Company is gearing up for a summer that promises to be better than any other.

As a member of the Green Alliance, a union promoting over one hundred local, sustainable businesses, Isles of Shoals Steamship Company has raised the bar for the industry. They work to conserve energy in every avenue possible, from incorporating recycling into the operation and encouraging “telecommuting” of their employees during the winter months.

The catalysts behind such changes are the new owners, Captain Jeremy Bell and Captain Jerod Blanchette, who have been with the company since 1997. When the two began, they were both summer interns from Maine Maritime Academy. They haven’t missed a summer with ISSCo since.

“We’ve been there for a long time, so we definitely wanted to make change,” said Blanchette. “We saw it shrink over the last few years, now we’d like to expand it back up, maybe do some catering events, obviously get the second boat, kayak tours…a lot more.”

Their ideas for Isles of Shoals Steamship Company this summer, and beyond, are endless.

As soon as they were named new owners, Bell and Blanchette hit the ground running. They have launched a new website, which makes scheduling trips and cruises a breeze for customers, and also makes it completely accessible via mobile devices. They’ve adopted a new logo and renovated the M/V Thomas Laighton which, amongst other great improvements, includes a better sound system allowing live music to be heard throughout the boat. The newly acquired 50 passenger boat, dubbed M/V Celia Thaxter, will run tours for smaller groups throughout the summer. The boat is expected to begin chartering late morning Shoals runs by the time the regular season begins on June 21.

With Portsmouth exploding with new hotels, an influx in the younger generation of recent college grads and the ever growing number of tourists, we think this is a great time to expand; keeping up with the new modernized Portsmouth," explained Blanchette.

Just how is Isles of Shoals Steamship Company keeping up with the new scene? They’re introducing new tours, including a Sunday Night Sunset Acoustic Harbor Cruise for $15. Out of those summer Sunday cruises, four will be designated wine tasting events, complete with appetizers for $35. Blanchette and Bell will initiate multiple new themed nights, enticing to all generations of locals and visitors. From an 80’s night, to a good ole’ Mardi Gras cruise, the theme of the night will be accompanied with music to match, drinks and dancing.

Perhaps the greatest thing about the “new” Isles of Shoals Steamship Company is the fact that it’s not new; it’s staying true to its core and improving on what didn't work before. You will see the many of the same friendly faces greeting you and guiding you on your excursion (i.e. Captains Bell and Blanchette). You’ll notice the M/V Thomas Laighton has maintained much of its original charm. The company will continue to offer six tours including: a 45 minute guided tour around historical Star Island, and another which lets tourists and sightseers roam around the hallowed grounds of the island for close to five hours.

With the temperatures climbing, you surely won’t want to miss out on the tours and events Isles of Shoals Steamship Company has lined up this summer. In fact, on July 10, the Isles of Shoals Steamship Company is teaming up with the Green Alliance and NHPTV for the Summer Party Cruise, free to all members of the GA. To become a member of the Green Alliance and attend the cruise for free, visit ( and email!

For more information on the Isles of Shoals Steamship Company, visit