Shark swimming towards the surface with mouth open

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Shark swimming towards the surface with mouth open

Photo by: MediaProduction

MediaProduction

The Jaws Boat is Being Rebuilt, But This Time to Save Sharks

By: Lucy Sherriff

‘The ORCA’ may just be the most famous boat in the film industry. Immortalized by the thriller Jaws in 1975, the vessel relentlessly pursued the 25-foot, three ton-big shark. However a new reincarnation of the old classic boat will take on a new goal: to save sharks, not hunt them.

August 05, 2020

A group of diehard Jaws fans, conservationists, and individuals who worked on the Spielberg blockbuster have launched a crowdfunding campaign to build a replica of The Orca.

We're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

David Bigelow hopes to transform a lobster boat named Lydia into The ORCA’s new incarnation, which will be a shark research expedition boat operating out of Martha’s Vineyard and doubling as a tour and charter vessel.

So far, the campaign has raised $9,200 of its $150,000 goal, having had 159 individuals donate.

To date, no recreation of the ORCA has been made,” the Indiegogo campaign page reads. “This will be the first! We are ready to begin the restoration and transformation of the Nova Scotia lobster boat "Lydia" into the first operational vessel since the original ORCA was lost almost 30 years ago.”

Bigelow’s team is working with the original production team from the movie, which includes Joe Alves, the production designer of Jaws and Chris Crawford, part of the original boat’s build crew.

The recreation of the boat will happen on Martha’s Vineyard, which is where the movie was filmed. “The ORCA III will remain on the island to serve her mission of conservation and charity functions, as well as providing commercial tours to fans of the blockbuster 1975 film,” the campaign adds. If the $180,000 is raised, the ORCA III will be able to carry eight passengers upon completion.

Bigelow’s fascination with Jaws began when he was cast as an extra as a five-year-old. He had initially bought the Lydia, originally a lobster boat, to use in a six-part docudrama he had hoped to produce about the making of Jaw’s on the island. However, there’s been a recent spate of shark sightings in local waters. Great white sharks in particular have been spotted on numerous occasions in the waters of Martha’s Vineyard, lured there by increasing seal populations.

Great White shark. As seen on GREAT WHITE SHARK: UNCAGED.

GREAT WHITE SHARK: UNCAGED

Great White shark. As seen on GREAT WHITE SHARK: UNCAGED.

Science & Conservation

So Bigelow decided to use the boat for conservation and education efforts. Leading the shark tagging expeditions will be Greg Skomal, a shark researcher who grew up on Martha’s Vineyard.

“Martha’s Vineyard is an iconic place for sharks,” he says. “You think the movie Jaws, you think Martha’s Vineyard island. But it’s remarkable we haven’t focused a lot of attention on Martha’s Vineyard, largely because we’ve been so focused on other areas."

“I want to get to know what’s happening around Martha’s Vineyard,” Skomal added. “I want to know, are white sharks going there? That’s an area that’s really been devoid of research, and that’s where we want to begin to focus our attention.”

“Greg said the most important part for tagging great whites is having a pulpit that extends off the bow of the boat so that you can tag them easily from just overhead,” Bigelow told Boston.com. “The ORCA III will have a pulpit. To make it look like the ORCA, a pulpit is completely necessary.”

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