Roanoke Island Maritime Museum opened in Manteo in 1998. The museum is located in the George Washington Creef Boathouse nestled along side the downtown waterfront.
The Boathouse is named after George Washington Creef, a local builder who developed the Shad boat in the 1870’s. Creef combined traditional split-log techniques with conventional plank-on-frame construction. This unique style of work boat was well-suited to rapidly- changing weather conditions and the surrounding waters of the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds making it a vessel in high demand by coastal fisherman. Construction of these boats ended in the 1930’s, but they are still seen on the water due to their solid construction. Though nearly 100 years old, they are a timeless piece of local history. The Shad boat was designated as the State Boat of North Carolina in 1987. The museum has on exhibit a number of small watercrafts showcasing the community’s maritime heritage. Some of the watercraft exhibits include Ella, an 1883 Creef Shad boat, a clipper yawl boat, a 1960 era hydroplane, and other small boats.
The Maritime Museum is a working boat shop where volunteers and staff take on projects including small craft restoration, exhibit design, and new boat construction. The Elizabeth II, a replica of the ships said to have brought the famous Lost Colony to Roanoke Island in 1587 was constructed on this site. Several other restored traditional sailing watercrafts, including the Elizabeth II, grace the waters of Shallowbag Bay in front of the Museum. Eight Optimist Prams were built by volunteers in 2001 for the Youth Sailing Program coordinated by the Museum. A replica 25-foot Shad boat was built by volunteers and staff in 2002 through funds from a grant provided by the Percy and Elizabeth Meekins Trust. The replica is an integral part of the museum's educational and interpretive programs. The Friends of the Museum, a non-profit support group, help to secure the classes offered by the Museum and the Outer Banks Sailing program. Extensive repairs and renovations were made to the Museum after Hurricane Isabel in September of 2003 in an effort to preserve a piece of local history.
The Maritime Museum is located at 104 Fernando Street in downtown Manteo. You can visit the Maritime Museum Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 pm. Call (252) 475-1750 or visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/rimaritime/ for more information on educational programs, activities and special events.
You won't need a tent for the camps offered by the Roanoke Island Maritime Museum! Youth sailing camps are available in the summer, and alumni get to enjoy open sail both in the summer and fall. Get a fun and different perspective of the Manteo waterfront on Tuesday evenings during the summer with the Shallowbag Sail About! Ready to watch the video now?
The youth sailing program is eight-week-long sessions beginning the second week in June and running through the first week in August. The program is open to youth 8 to 16 years old. Two sessions are taught daily, the morning session is 8 AM - 12 PM, the afternoon session is 1 PM - 4:30 PM.
The program instructors follow U.S. Sailing Small guidelines The instructor ratio to students will be, 4:1 for beginners and, 6:1 for more advanced students. The program helps participants develop self-reliance, sportsmanship, knowledge, and respect for the forces of nature while ensuring boating safety awareness through a combination of classroom and on-the-water time. Classes are designed to teach beginning sailors basic sailing skills and seamanship and to improve the sailing skills of intermediate sailors.
The Youth Sailing Program uses the International Optimist Dinghy and 420 class sailboats. Boating and water safety concerns are of utmost importance and are taught and implemented in all sailing programs both in the classroom and on the water. The cost is $190 for the Optimist and $200 for the 420 programs. Scholarships and family rates are available.
On Tuesday evening, weather permitting; the public is invited to join us for a short sail on Shallowbag Bay in traditional watercraft. This is a great way to see Manteo’s waterfront and experience sailing traditional watercraft. A $5.00 donation per-person is encouraged. This program will be run by volunteers serving as crew for the boat.
This informal sailing is open to all alumni of our youth programs. Open Sail is held most Tuesdays during the summer and early fall from 6 - 8 PM, weather permitting. This program is designed to give the sailors additional “on the water” time. The sailing is supervised but this program is not designed as instructional. Parents are encouraged to help with boat set up and storage. We also encourage parents to sail with their child if possible.
Volunteers are the backbone of the day-to-day operation of the museum and its programing. We are always looking for short-term and ongoing help in the following areas: Volunteer Staff – Be the face of the Roanoke Island Maritime Museum for a few hours a week. Greet visitors, answer general questions. Assist with weekend hours and covering vacation time of full-time staff. Programs - Assist with our workshops and courses. We need volunteers to Build a Boat in a Day, Lofting, and other museum-sponsored programs. Boat Shop – Get involved in on-going restoration projects, upkeep of our sailing fleet, and new build projects. Sailing Instructors and Public Rides – Experienced sailors are always in demand to assist with our Learn-to-Sail program. We offer free public sails, Shallowbag Bay Sail About, in the shad boat. Boat skippers and crew are needed. Special Events – Our One-Design Regatta in July and other social events during the year.
Volunteer Benefits - Our volunteers are part of the Roanoke Island Maritime Museum family and volunteering is fun and a great way to meet new friends. There are other perks too: Learning – Develop valuable maritime skills while volunteering. Boat Use – 3 hours of volunteering earns one hour of boat use. Discounts on programs and courses – 80 hours of volunteering earns 25% off program tuition. Social events – Enjoy social activities throughout the year.
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