In the Boat Shop

Within the shop, our young boatwrights are introduced to the basics of boatbuilding--such as stich and glue or cedar strip construction--as well as 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. 

Urban BoatWorks expects our youth to build incredible boats, and our boats to build incredible kids. Through the relationships they develop with our adult volunteers and mentors, students begin to think beyond the circumstances of their city and follow in the footsteps of their role models. We expect their academic performance to improve through the application of math and science concepts both in the shop and on the water. Lastly, we expect students' attitudes and character to develop as they work with adults and peers and learn the dedication required to build boats and launch them on the water.


Our Current Boat Builds

Urban BoatWorks holds weekly classes for a variety of boat-builder levels and ages. We welcome visitors to experience these builds in person. Contact Jim to schedule a visit.

Merrimac Canoe Build

Merrimac Canoe: After School Builds

These basic, beginner-level boat builds currently involve six middle school students from UrbanPromise’s CamdenForward School and six students from the Catholic Partnership Schools. The canoe pictured, the classic of our fleet, is a beautiful and stable craft that catches the eye of all who see it.

Bevins Skiff in workshop

Math-Focused (STEM) Boat Builds 

As part of their mathematics curriculum, UrbanPromise Academy’s 9th grade class is working on two projects: a 30' dragon boat for the UrbanPromise dragon boat team, and reparing our existing fleet of canoes and kayaks from their heavy use in the summer paddling program.  Additionally this year, over 80-6th grade sutdents from the Camden Forward School, Sacred Heart School, and Camden's Promise Charter School will be completing a series of small scale projects and boat models, testing them and tying their activities to their math curriculums.  

Volunteer and Student working on kayak

Advanced Build 

Once a week, experienced UrbanPromise Academy students work together to create tandem cedar and mahogany strip kayaks and canoes--the superstars of the UrbanTrekkers fleet.  

Voyager Canoe

With an eye for teamwork and collaboration, the Camden Academy Charter High School's senior physics class is taking on the challenge of building a cedar-strip voyager canoe.  This canoe, seating eight paddlers, is modled after the canoes used to travel thousands of kilometers on the lakes in Canada in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, transporting furs and goods.

Dragon Boat

A part of our 9th grade class' build, adding the Dragon Boat to our fleet opens doors for new activities for our students.  Having been welcomed warmly into the Dragon Boating community, our team has competed in the Independence Dragon Boat Regatta more than once, finishing at the top of our division in 2016.  Not only does building the boat engage our students academically, the practice of rowing this 14-person boat fosters unitiy, teamwork and grit.  


From Our Blog...

Welcome Tom!

Apr 7, 2017
Congratulations and WELCOME to Tom Calisterio our new Program Director at Urban BoatWorks.  Although, it seems a bit odd to welcome Tom who has been with us since day one.  Tommy was one of the founding volunteers from the summer of 2009 who helped...