First Selectman Penny Picard Sampson, along with fellow Selectman Tony Avila, was on a hunt for a pirate ship that could liven up Unity's Kanokolus Beach.

"We were looking for a small wooden boat to transform into a pirate ship, to add to the playground equipment," she said.

The idea came to them a couple of years ago, while making improvements to the beach, she said. "Tony and I wanted to find a skiff" for kids to play and set sail on, but "we just couldn't find one."

This was until Sampson's brother and sister-in-law, Dennis and Sharon Picard, stepped in and donated the wooden ship they had converted to a pirate vessel for Halloween, which stood in front of their house.

"He goes all out at Halloween," Sampson said of her brother. This Halloween at the Picards' house, in order to retrieve treats, guests had to "walk the plank" to get to a treasure chest filled with bags of goodies.

"It's a sizable wooden boat," Sampson said. Dennis painted and varnished it, and replaced several of the planks. He also replaced the masts, painted skulls on the bow and added shredded sails. "He replaced a lot of the boards and sturdied it up," she said. "It looks real."

The ship will be in place by next summer, she said, adding that a barricade needs to be moved in order to haul the ship in. To complete the look, a couple of rocks will be moved at the shore so the boat appears to be beached, and also to prevent it from setting sail again.

The town had also been looking for a trailer for its flashing speed sign, so it could easily be moved to different locations. With the help of Sampson's husband, who is a welder, the pirate ship's trailer, which was purchased by the town for $400, will be modified to hold the speed sign, thus solving two issues at once.

"We have swing sets, a jungle gym along with picnic tables and grills," Sampson said. "Now we have a pirate ship."