In the late 1960s, a group of passionate New Yorkers lobbied the city to set aside a collection of city blocks in the South Street Seaport as an area worthy of care, attention, and preservation. They became the Museum’s first volunteers, and laid the foundation for the work the Seaport Museum does today in sharing the incredible story of the rise of the port of New York with our visitors and community.
Volunteers work to support every aspect of the Museum, but are most often seen working on the waterfront at Pier 16. There, our crew works tirelessly to restore and maintain the Museum’s fleet of historic vessels using traditional maritime skills while enjoying the unique atmosphere of a working waterfront that makes the South Street Seaport Historic District so special. We are grateful to our Volunteers, who in 2019 contributed 12,379 hours of service to the Museum. Enlist today!
Waterfront Ship Restoration & Maintenance
Volunteers and Interns help maintain and interpret the stationary vessels and operate, maintain and interpret the operational vessels.
Entry level: The work of carefully restoring, repairing, and maintaining our ships never ceases. During every month of the year Volunteers, Interns, and staff work together to care for our ships. Work includes: cleaning and organizing, repairs, painting, polishing, varnishing, and general maintenance. In the spring, the operational vessels are fitted out and re-rigged for the coming season, and in the late fall they’re down-rigged for winter. Most labor can be unskilled. Training is provided.
Specialized: All ships need carpenters, electricians, ship engineers, riggers, metalworkers, and divers from time to time. Requirements: Physical stamina, skills as described above, and an ability to work in a team.
- Be 18 or older or have a parent’s or guardian’s permission to sail.
- Go on two training sails. These are held most Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12 noon during the sailing season.
- Between the first and second training sail, take a U.S. Coast Guard mandated drug test.
- Work as crew on at least four sails a month (during the season) to maintain your active status.
Click below to get in touch and learn about volunteering at the Seaport Museum