The History of
Blount Small Ship Adventures
1910: E.B. Blount & Sons Oyster Company
In the early 20th century, the workers were busy and the famous Blount oyster beds were bountiful in coastal Rhode Island. Every morning oysters and shellfish went out by the crate to eager buyers around the state. The Whitecap oysters, the Blount brand, were the best of coastal New England.
1938: Great New England Hurricane
The devastation caused by the Great New England Hurricane of 1938 changed everything. When the clouds finally rolled away, the effects of the hurricane were lasting. E.B. Blount & Sons Oyster Company was left is shambles and and its once thriving oyster beds were destroyed. The company was soon out of business.
1949: Blount Marine Is Founded
Determined to keep the family business alive, the young engineering graduate Luther Blount returned to Rhode Island and started Blount Marine and got to work on a series of innovations that began with a new method of steaming clams, that resulted in our shellfish making its way into homes across New England via Campbell’s soups’ clam chowder.
1950: An Inventor Is Born
Luther Blount designs, patents, and builds his first boat, a 77’ steel catamaran. He bid and won a job to construct a fuel oil service vessel using the same catamaran concept based on two cylindrical floats which he dubbed the “twin tube.” This design was succeeded by a progression of larger and more complex vessels resulting in a quantum expansion of the shipyard.
1952: Miss Liberty
One of the most famous vessels built at the shipyard was the 130-foot, 600-passenger Miss Liberty. Built in 1952, this boat carried over 60,000,000 passengers from Manhattan to the Statue of Liberty for the Circle Line. It is believed to have ferried the most passengers of any boat.
1955: Oyster Processing Plant to Shipbuilding Workshop
Despite correcting the course of the family business, Luther was troubled by the once bustling oyster processing plant. He decided to turn it into a workspace for constructing a new oyster boat. Luther had found a new calling in shipbuilding, and so had Blount Boats.
1962: 100 Vessels, Countless New Experiences
By now, Blount had built more than 100 vessels – everything from the ferries to dinner boats to commercial trawlers to offshore supply vessels. Luther found inspiration by delivering these vessels and exploring new areas with his family. For the years that followed, the Blount’s spent their vacations aboard the family boat, cruising, fishing, and enjoying the water. Luther also continued to innovate, filing many patents for controllable pitch propellers and new ideas for trawlers.
1966: The Word Got Around, Another Vision Is Born
Soon it was more than just the Blount’s cruising together. Friends and family began to ask if they could go along. As word spread and Blount’s reputation grew, a vision began to take shape in Luther’s mind. With his signature sense of determination, this vision soon became American Canadian Caribbean Line, a new small ship cruise line, offering voyages unlike any others available.
1970: A Vision Mature, The Innovation Begins
The inventor in Luther blended with his adventurous side and by 1970 he had more patents to his name. These patents were centered around cruising vessels. Luther’s patented bow ramp made it possible to step into the waters of secluded coves and shallow riverbanks; glass bottom boats provide passengers with a diver’s eye; and his patented retractable pilot house – combined with the shallow draft of the ships – made so many more routes possible.
1975: Persistent Innovation
The Le Bateau dinner boat, built in 1972, is believed to be the first to operate in the U.S., launching the excursion dinner boat segment of the cruise industry in America. During the 1980’s, a group of “Spirit Class” dinner boats were constructed with three decks designed for cruising major U.S. harbors.
1990: Paying It Forward
Back on land, Luther worked tirelessly to bring the oysters back to Rhode Island, in the waters of his beloved Narragansett Bay. He even patented a new method and means for growing oysters. His major donation to a local university created a program that taught students about marine wildlife, and challenged them with cultivating new oyster beds. He even bought land on an island refuge to help the cause. The goal remained simple and clear: rebuild what Rhode Island had lost back in 1938.
1995 - 2009: A Reputation For Adventurous Cruising
From the white sandy beaches of the Caribbean to the lush hills of Central America; from the serene waters of the Great Lakes to the rich history of the Northeast, Blount continued to seek out new unexplored destinations and waterways that only Blount boats could access. Although Luther had passed, the company worked to develop new adventures with the spirit of adventure.
2009 - 2010: A New Beginning
Following a complete retrofit of the fleet, what was once American Canadian Caribbean Line was rebranded to honor the legacy of the man who started it all and Blount Small Ship Adventures was born.
2016 - 2019: Innovation, Curiosity & Friendships Continue
Today Luther's daughters run the family business and now a 3rd generation of Blounts are joining both our cruise line and Blount Boats, our boat building sister company. With a proud nod to our history, we excitedly look ahead to what the next half-century will bring.