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‘S.S. Minnow’ to set sail again

The 37-foot Wheeler Express Cruiser from “Gilligan’s Island” has a new owner

The 37-foot Wheeler Express Cruiser from “Gilligan’s Island” has a new owner

The boat made famous for its role on the 1960s television sitcom “Gilligan’s Island” may soon set off on another “three-hour tour.” The S.S. Minnow, a 37-foot 1960 Wheeler Express Cruiser, was sold in September, and the new owner has plans to put her to work again as a tour boat off British Columbia.

“The Minnow sold in less than two weeks,” says Wayne Newport, manager of Schooner Cove Marina on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, where the Minnow had been stored for nearly a decade. “We were talking to people as far away as Australia about this boat. I’m not surprised that she sold so fast. The new owner told me he might put her back to work doing tours around here.”

The boat was one of four used to portray the S.S. Minnow but was the only one used for on-water shots, according to information on the Gilligan’s Island fan club Web site ( Newport declined to say who purchased it or for how much, but he said the asking price was $99,000. “The boat was totally restored and is in very, very good condition,” he says. “She sold for something pretty close to the asking price. I can say that much.”

The man who owned the boat, Scotty Taylor of Parksville, British Columbia, was the Minnow’s third owner. Newport says he wasn’t surprised he decided to sell. “[Taylor] logged a lot of hours restoring the boat, but he didn’t get much use [out] of it,” says Newport. “He fixed it up from top to tail, putting in a lot of research to get it to its original state. But it basically has been sitting here at the marina. We never saw [Taylor] very much. We wrap it up in the winter, and that’s about it.”

Taylor first came across the S.S. Minnow in 1996 when the boat, then called Blue Jacket, was being pulled off a reef off Hardwick Island, Newport says. Taylor was “taken” with the Wheeler and made the owner an offer. “The condition … was that he had to restore it,” he says.

Newport wasn’t certain of all the work that went into the restoration but says Taylor spent more than $150,000. “I think he just decided to unload it,” Newport says. “He’s getting on in age and wants to move on with things. He’s retired now, so he’s looking forward to traveling and that sort of thing.”

The “Gilligan’s Island” television series ran from 1964 to 1967. The storyline revolved around seven castaways who were stranded on an uncharted island when the S.S. Minnow was caught in a storm off Hawaii during a three-hour tour.

Newport is happy that the Minnow’s new owner is local and doesn’t plan to move the boat from Schooner Cove Marina. A number of visitors over the years have enjoyed seeing a piece of television history at the marina, he says. “We had one Australian fellow, a skipper of some 100-foot-plus yacht that cruised through here, stop in and ask about the boat,” Newport recalls. “I showed him the boat and called [Taylor] to see if it was OK to get on the boat. He said yes, so this guy flipped. We stood on the boat and he had some pictures taken. He was like a kid in a candy store. It was great.”