The Sea Lab at Dauphin Island was recently gifted a small vessel by the estate of the late John Walter “Sto” Stowers, Jr. Sto’s widow and dear friend, George Cunningham, Jr., presented the Sea Lab with the Miss Robin, a 17-foot wooden skiff built by master boatbuilder Floyd Bosarge from Coden, Alabama. 

Floyd Bosarge, a commercial fisherman, began honing his boatbuilding skills as a young man by doing repair work in his cousin’s boatyard. Later, working in a shed behind his home, he began building commissioned boats for other commercial fishermen in south Mobile County. Bosarge knew the features of a good boat and his building process resulted in a sturdy and serviceable boat. Bosarge did not sketch out his boats. The exact dimensions and specifications based on each customer’s needs and preference were all kept in his head.  Today, these boats populate local waters and are easily recognizable by those in the boat and fishing industry. This gift will be a great addition to the small vessel fleet that supports the DISL researchers and graduate students with fieldwork.

While Sto was a resident of Montgomery, Alabama, his love of nature and birding resulted in much time spent on Dauphin Island due to it being on many migratory paths. His passion for birding was shared with many as he volunteered much of his time with the Dauphin Island Bird Sanctuary.  Sto was also generous with his knowledge by passing along what he knew to all who were interested in the various bird species that visit the island on their travels north and south. Through his frequent presence on the island and warm personality, Sto became an island fixture who was adored by many.

"He was an awesome birder, and took many people out on his boat to show them the birds of the area," Dr. John Dindo, Director of Institutional Advancement at The Sea Lab shared. "He was also a good friend of mine, and would go with me to my research site on Cat Island."

Sto passed away on July 9, 2016; but through the gift of Miss Robin, his love for his second home of Dauphin Island will continue on each time it is launched. The Sea Lab at Dauphin Island is greatly appreciative of this gift that will support and assist DISL researchers and students with their coastal research.