Why MailBoats!!


The Bahamas is a country of hundreds of islands that occupies thousands of square miles of ocean. In the 1950s, the United States spent a pile of money connecting forty-eight contiguous states that were already connected by a highway system. There is no question that the improved connectivity of the Interstate Highway System has been a major contributor to the US economy ever since. Economic imperatives drove that huge US national  investment, and the improved quality of life for generations of residents is incalculable. But, to achieve the same goals, how do you connect the inhabited Bahamian Islands distributed over 100,000 square miles of ocean? Lots of bridges? I don’t think so. Mailboats!  History, geography and eventually the need to improve commerce influenced the coming of mailboats. It didn’t happen quickly. By 1821, the schooners Dash and Paragon were connecting islands within the Bahamas with mail coming from outside the colony. Any hope for economic development demanded more regular inter-island service, not just for mail, but also for passengers and cargo. Eventually, a system of mailboats was established with a small cay in Nassau as the “mailboat hub” and the routs to the many Out-islands the “spokes.” The weekly routes, first with sailing ships of the day and later with modern vessels, finally connected the country’s many islands for cargo, passengers, and mail!

                                                                                   The Islands of The Bahamas cover a big piece of the Atlantic Ocean.

History, geography and eventually the need to improve commerce influenced the coming of mailboats. It didn’t happen quickly.<strong> </strong>By 1821, the schooners Dash and Paragon were connecting islands within the Bahamas with mail coming from outside the colony. Any hope for economic development demanded more regular inter-island service, not just for mail, but also for passengers and cargo. Eventually, a system of mailboats was established with a small cay in Nassau as the “mailboat hub” and the routs to the many Out-islands the “spokes.” The weekly routes, first with sailing ships of the day and later with modern vessels, finally connected the country’s many islands for cargo, passengers, and even mail!