The Betselma will begin its first season under the new ownership of Camden Harbor Cruises, Friday, May 24, by offering Free Boat Tours for Locals.

Owners, Alec and Erin Brainerd and Garth Wells and Jenny Tobin want to thank the community for all the support they have received over the winter by inviting all locals to come out for a boat ride aboard the historic Betselma for free.

Free Boat Tours for Locals will be offered from Friday, May 24 through Sunday, June 9.

Camden Harbor Cruises invites the community to join them on a tour and offer any feedback, tell stories of their special connections to Camden Harbor and the Betselma, or just take a break before the summer folk arrive.

The new owners all have deep roots in Camden Harbor and maritime tradition. Brainerd has worked as the captain of numerous boats, including the Appledore and he and his wife Erin own Artisan Boatworks in Rockport where they specialize in building, maintaining and restoring wooden boats. Wells and Tobin own the Schooner Lewis R. French, also in Camden Harbor, which offers three- to six-day overnight passenger sails seasonally.

For 66 years, the Betselma has graced Camden Harbor as a passenger carrying vessel, and the last 33 years has been owned and operated by Capt. Les Bex. The tradition of providing one-hour harbor tours continues with two new experienced captains, Capt. Matt Jacobson and Capt. Dominic Gioia.

Jacobson grew up fishing and exploring New York's back country. After settling along the Maine coast in 2007 he turned his love for nature and water into a career as a captain. In his free time he can be found hiking in Camden Hills park or boating with friends, and of course always looking forward to summers in Maine.

Capt. Gioia, a United States Coast Guard Licensed Master, earned a degree from University of Maine in Recreational Tourism, and has spent the last 10 years guiding people along the Maine Coast. Born and raised in Maine, he enjoys camping, fishing and snowboarding when not out on the water.

To make reservations, visit CamdenHarborCruises.com, click on the calendar day you would like to join them, and enter the coupon code LOCAL_FOLKS to receive the discounted fare.

You may also call the office at

207-236-6672 for more information and to inquire about group reservations or private

charters. Tours depart hourly from the Camden Public Landing.