Urban BoatWorks

In partnership with the Camden Shipyard and Maritime Museum, Urban BoatWorks seeks to build character through the craft of wooden boat building. Since the program’s beginning in 2009 middle and high school youth have been handcrafting paddle boards, canoes, kayaks, and paddleboards and launching them on local waterways. As they work in the boat shop alongside instructors and mentors—nearly all of whom are volunteers—students learn the skills needed to become leaders among peers and productive, responsible adults.

KTVO News Clip from UrbanTrekkers on Vimeo.

Students of Urban BoatWorks participate in at least 10 on-the-water trips each year. In addition to paddling their hand-made vessels, youth explore local waterways and learn about the environment surrounding Camden.


Each year, 50 middle and high school students from several Camden schools learn how to build and paddle boats with UrbanPromise. 

40 youth made crafts since 2009, sail boats, kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards have been hand-crafted by Camden youth.

In the Boat Shop

Within the shop, our young boatwrights are introduced to the basics of boatbuilding--such as stich and glue and cedar strip construction--as well as classic marine literature, the geometry of boat design, physics of buoyancy and aerodynamics, and Camden’s waterfront history. Students also benefit from Urban BoatWorks partnerships with the Camden Shipyard and Maritime Museum and Philadelphia's Independence Seaport Museum through which they are learning various methods to construct a centuries-old craft. 

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