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North Sea Maritime Center Now Official Stewards of Tupper Boathouse Site

The North Sea Maritime Center has signed a license with Southampton Town, making it the official steward and manager of the Tupper Boathouse at North Sea Harbor.

The nonprofit organization was created to oversee the transformation of the historic boathouse into a maritime museum, the home of a wood boat-building program, and an aquacultural educational facility offering programs in everything from maritime history to sailing and boater safety.

Mark Matthews, the president of the center, said the town and his organization have been discussing ways to provide a public use for the site for years and had been working on the licensing agreement for well over a year.

“It’s a 25-year agreement, it’s detailed and I think it’s good for everyone,” he said of the deal that was finalized in December.

Under the arrangement, the town will own the building, while the maritime center runs the programming.

Now that it has been designated the official steward of the site, the center can begin fundraising efforts to launch the varied programs it plans. Easton Architects of Manhattan will design the space for the new maritime center.

The boathouse, built between 1929 and 1931, was initially used by the Tupper Motorcraft boat company as a workshop. Years later, it became the Conscience Point nightclub, named after the nearby spot where English settlers first arrived in Southampton in 1640.

In 2001, the nightclub gained notoriety when the publicist Lizzie Grubman backed her Mercedes-Benz SUV into a crowd of people outside the club. The club was closed after that incident, and the town acquired the property through the Community Preservation Fund in 2003.

Matthews said the town received grant money to make repairs after the building was damaged in Hurricane Sandy in 2012. That work included elevating the building and putting in a new foundation.

“With the Town of Southampton’s support, we are eager to move forward with the restoration,” Matthews said in a press release. He thanked Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, Councilman John Bouvier, former Councilwoman Julie Lofstad, Deputy Supervisor Frank Zappone, Town Attorney James Burke, and former Director of Municipal Works Christine Fetten for their help in making the center a reality.

Additional information about the maritime center, including ways to donate to its programming, can be found at its website,


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