THE HISTORY OF BOISTÖ
THE LURE AND THE HISTORY OFTHE PILOT ISLAND
In ancient times, fishing and sealing were practised on the island of Boistö. The pilots started their activities around 1720. The original pilot´s station was built in 1892.
Boistö has experienced a lot of the history of the Gulf of Finland. In front of Suursaari, Russian and Swedish naval divisions fought five great battles in the 18th century as part of the struggle between these two great powers of the time. As experts on the archipelago, the pilots participated in these battles. Their significance for both wars and commercial shipping has been invaluable. In the demanding conditions, the work of the pilots has been very dangerous, especially during the wartime.
The influence of the pilots on Boistö continued until 2003. After this, all the pilot activity in the area was concentrated on the island of Orrengrund, southwest of Boistö.
In the 20th century, Boistö was also occupied by coast guards, coastal artillery and the Finnish Lifeboat Institution. The effect of the coastal artillery was slight. As a memory of this period there is a fire control tower on the island´s highest spot. The coast guards left the island in 1996, after which the Finnish Lifeboat Institution adopted it as a training centre. The Institution decided to move to new facilities in the Inkoo archipelago in 2006.
In 2008, a new period began in Boistö: a business took over offering high-quality services for meetings and events while respecting the old island traditions.
THE PEOPLE OF THE ISLAND
Juha: “As a scion of a shipping family, the tradition of seafaring is close to my heart. I first became acquainted with the island of Boistö in the early 1990s through the Finnish Lifeboat Institution. The honourable past of the island as a base for maritime defence was also already familiar to me.”
Marjo: “We did not want to make Boistö into some faceless training centre. We wanted to preserve the unique nature on the island and the ties to the interesting tradition of maritime history.”
Juha: “As an enthusiast for traditional construction, I thought it important that all the renovation work on the island – the timber and stone work on the buildings and piers, the textiles such as carpets and wall rugs – should reflect high-quality Finnish handicraft. As a third criterion in renovating Boistö, we emphasised environmentally friendly solutions.”
Marjo: “All these criteria were met in the renovation, which actually exceeded our expectations. On our website, we have tried to capture the unique atmosphere of Boistö, although it cannot be fully conveyed by any image or text. Boistö has to be experienced! We are thankful for all the tremendously skilled and talented people who have contributed to the creation of a new spirit in Boistö, taking its inspiration from the traditions and nature of the island.”
“I am from the Loviisa region. My forefathers worked as pilots on Boistö for several generations. For this reason, I have had exceptionally close ties to the island ever since my childhood. My first job on Boistö started in 1997 when I trained to be a shipper and an engineer. In 2001, I got a steady job as Host of the Finnish Lifeboat Institution´s training center.
I’m glad that I have also been able to continue my work in this role in the new Boistö. With my background in maritime rescue, I am responsible for the boats and the safe transportation of our guests in any weather. I also know the buildings like my own pockets. I ensure that everything is in order and working when the customers arrive. For security’s sake, I stay on the island overnight with our customers. Nobody is left on the island alone.
Boistö cooperates with many businesses in the Loviisa and Kotka regions. We use local labour in the construction and renovation work, cleaning and arranging the activities for our guests, such as fishing trips. This has a great significance for the entire region.”
“I am from the Loviisa region and a cook by profession. I am responsible for preparing the meals and ensuring the general comfort of the guests together with the other staff. The events are always tailored according to the customers’ requests. For this reason, each event is unique. As we serve only one group at a time, we can concentrate completely on the satisfaction of our guests. The naturally beautiful island is an inspiring work environment.”