National Park Service

State of the Park Reports

State of the Park Report for Salem Maritime National Historic Site

Resource Brief – Friendship of Salem

Friendship of Salem is a magnet for visitors and a cherished icon by local residents of Salem
Friendship of Salem is a magnet for visitors and a cherished icon by local residents of Salem

Friendship of Salem, a reconstruction of a 171-foot three-masted Salem East Indiaman built in 1797, arrived on September 1, 1998 at Salem Maritime National Historic Site, after two years of construction at Scarano Boat Building in Albany, NY. She is the largest wooden, Coast Guard certified, sailing vessel to be built for a New England port in more than a century. The replica is based on a model of the original 18th-century Friendship at the Peabody Essex Museum, as well as several paintings of the ship and numerous documents, including logs of the ship's voyages.

She is certified by the U.S. Coast Guard as a fully operational sailing vessel and as a moored attraction. Friendship typically stays in-port at Derby Wharf to allow visitors to board her for regular interpretive tours and to observe ongoing maintenance activities by NPS staff and Friendship's 60+ volunteer crew. Friendship occasionally sails to local and regional maritime history events as a maritime ambassador for the National Park Service and the Essex National Heritage Area.

Friendship plays a fundamental role in the interpretation of the park's historic significance and fulfills the late 1930s vision of a "physical ship" as a core feature of the National Historic Site. The ship is a thematic touchstone for visitors, allowing them to see, touch, and feel a (replica) ship of the 18th-century global trade that brought goods, riches and prominence to Salem—and the United States. The ship, along with the wharves and U.S. Custom House, complete the historic fabric of the site—enabling visitors to visualize and understand the core processes of trade, taxation and commerce. The ship is a marquee attraction for both the park and local residents, who have passionately embraced Friendship as an icon for the city of Salem.

Since 2009 Friendship has required regular maintenance and repair work, in addition to basic preventive and cyclic maintenance, to correct deteriorating wood in her hull and framing components. This work has been undertaken by a combination of staff, volunteers and contractors. In 2012–13 a condition survey was completed by Paul Haley of G.W. Full and Associates Marine Surveyors to assist in condition assessment and future maintenance planning. This work will likely continue for many years, until deteriorated portions are repaired and design changes can be implemented to prevent or delay future deterioration. Dockside programming will continue during this period, though the vessel's ability to operate underway as a certified sailing vessel will likely be limited or suspended.

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Last Updated: June 19, 2017 Contact Webmaster