Remembering All Who Serve & Have Served

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Lang Syne

The vessel Lang Syne was built in 1889. Today the old girl is tied-up in a river on the upper Chesapeake Bay. A vessel restoration project is planned.

She has laid, partially sunk, for over fifteen years. She lays on the bottom in shallow water near the shore and her lower aft portion fills with water at high tide and empties as the tide recedes. She has been an eyesore to local residents passing over a nearby bridge and she cries out for someone to bring her back to what she used to be.

Her current owner, while having good intentions when he took over her title over fifteen years ago, converted her from steam power to diesel. Since then he has done little or no work on her and for all intents and purposes, she has been totally abandoned.

We at NROTC have great plans for Lang Syne and when work is complete, she will most probably be the only vintage sidewheeler operating on the Chesapeake Bay – and the probably first one to do so in many years. “Have you seen pictures of the old boats like the Emma Giles?” – “That’s exactly what this one will be like.”


Vessel Emma Giles photo courtesy of Maryland Historical Society

In the early 1900’s, vessels like the “Emma Giles” ferried passengers, mostly vacationers, from Baltimore, across the Chesapeake Bay, to summer resort homes on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Read a short historical story about Emma Giles.

The vessel Lang Syne is a smaller, but no less historically important version of the Emma Giles.

Our first step is to raise enough money to purchase her. From what we understand, her asking price is about $5,000.00 – Then the work begins.

Says Tom Ruley, NROTC’s Founder and President. “We have plans for a multi-phased Restoration and Put To Good Use project. Immediate plans are to make her seaworthy again.”

NROTC hopes to accomplish this through community volunteers, community financial support, other donations and/or grant funding, which is currently being sought for the associated costs of the project.

This funding will allow NROTC to provide employment to a number of homeless Veterans who are currently being housed at Maryland’s largest nearly 200 bed temporary housing and rehabilitative facility, The Maryland Center for Veterans Education and Training, known as McVets, which is located in Baltimore, Maryland. McVets is providing a tremendous service for many of Baltimore’s unfortunate and forgotten Veterans, and they welcome those who can provide decent employment opportunities to Veterans in need. McVets

Refloating Lang Syne, a project which could involve bringing her to dry-dock and replacing portions if not all of her steel hull bottom would involve lifting her from the water by crane and transporting her to dry-dock. Moving her to dry-dock alone has been quoted at eight to ten thousand dollars and returning her to water will cost the same. Due to this factor, NROTC is currently looking into alternate, safe and perhaps more economical methods of making her seaworthy again. One method being considered very strongly is reinforcing her bottom from within with rebar and ferro-cement, which has traditionally been used in a less known but nevertheless viable and sturdy method of vessel hull construction. We are looking into this very closely at this time. Learn more about Ferro-Cement boat hulls at

Lang Syne is located within two miles of NROTC’s headquarters. Again says Tom Ruley, “I am very familiar with Lang Syne as I have kept a fishing boat at the same marina for the last ten years. I know that she went down slowly over time and could most probably be floating again with the use of water pumps, enough to do the Ferro-Cement hull refit project without… having to bring her to dry dock and replacing her steel hull bottom.”

Regardless of which method we use to once again make her seaworthy, which could be accomplished in a few short months if not weeks or possibly even days, her topsides will need major refurbishment!…

We plan to use her as a Riverboat Retreat Vessel for our wounded warriors coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan as well as any needy or disadvantaged Veteran including those from McVets. McVets is a very rigid rehabilitative program that starts basically as Boot Camp and no unnecessary leave from the premises is granted. As the inductees progress through the program successfully, little by little, leave time and/or time away for employment is allowed.

Lang Syne is REALLY VERY ROOMY INSIDE AND THERE ARE TWO FLOORS!… After she is floated, much work is still before us… She will need a complete topsisides restoration. This Vessel Restoration will require many trade skills including carpentry, plumbing, electrical and general for lack of a better description, general home improvement skills. Many of our Veterans at McVets or elsewhere already posess these skills and if not, they could taught these skills. It should be noted that these trade skills ARE transferable and could lead to other more permanent employment.

It should also be noted that, that the problem many recent combat trained Veterans face when they return home is that their skills aquired in the military are practically useless in the private sector. This is why learning job skills is so valuable to a returning Veteran.

Wages paid to any McVets or anyone contributing to the topsides restoration plus materials are estimated to run another $10,000.00

Once the restoration is complete, employment and job skills training such as food preparation, seamanship and boat handling will be provided to these recovering Veterans aboard the Lang Syne.

NROTC has for some time now, been providing at least to some degree, recreational therapy to our Wounded Troops and other local veterans.

Our plans are to have private bunks aboard the Lang Syne enough to house about five formerly homeless veterans who will serve as crew and cook staff will be aboard. Lang Syne will ferry our Wounded Heroes and Veterans to entertaining venues around Maryland’s upper Chesapeake Bay as well as providing fishing and crabbing opportunities for daily, multi-day or week-long excursions. Says Tom Ruley, “We know for a fact that giving these individuals an opportunity for relaxation, recreation and just getting some fresh air, can really go a long way for them!… Can you think of anyone more deserving than someone who has unselfishly served our country?”

NROTC has also given thought to inviting the public aboard for excursions for a fee and provide dinner aboard prepared by an “ALL VETERAN” kitchen crew. All crewmembers would also be Veterans and proceeds, if any, over the cost of vessel upkeep, restaurant supplies and wages could help fund other NROTC charitable activities.

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