In the 19th century, shipping was an important part of the history of Fairfield and the entire Long Island Sound. At that time, sharpie schooners on Long Island Sound were coastal work boats that would harvest and deliver oysters up to ports for consumption. Much more recently, in 1986, SoundWaters, Inc. built its now-famous Schooner SoundWaters to resemble one of those important vessels.

The schooner is a representation of a Chesapeake Bay sharpie schooner from the 19th century, and it has been in use since the 1980s by SoundWaters, an organization that protects Long Island Sound through education. The Schooner SoundWaters, known as the “teaching vessel of Long Island Sound,” is a three-masted, 80-foot ship. The steel-hulled, U.S. Coast Guard-certified ship can carry up to 40 passengers.

This weekend, in conjunction with its brand-new “Rising Tides” exhibition, the Fairfield Museum is offering a sailing excursion on the ship. The event takes place on Sunday, October 9, from 1-3 p.m. The cruise leaves from Captain’s Cove in Bridgeport and passengers are asked to arrive at 12:45 p.m.

Adults and children ages five and up are invited to come aboard to work together to raise the sails, examine firsthand the rich diversity of the life that exists beneath the waves, sample and test water quality, learn about hypoxia, and analyze groundwater. To register call the Fairfield Museum at 203-259-1598 or register online at A ride on the vessel is a perfect combination of learning and enjoyment of the beauty of Long Island Sound.

Learn more about the history and culture of Fairfield, view rotating exhibitions and purchase Fairfield-themed gifts at the Fairfield Museum and History Center, 370 Beach Road. 203-259-1598; The Museum and Museum Shop are open daily, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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The year SoundWaters Inc. built its Schooner SoundWaters.