National Whaleboat Project

Whaleboat--Independence Seaport MuseumWhile the shipwrights at Mystic Seaport have been busy restoring the 1841 whaleship Charles W. Morgan, organizations from around the country have been building her a complement of new whaleboats. During her whaling career, the Morgan would carry a total of seven of the 28-foot, double-ended open boats. As the Museum’s current whaleboats are needed for daily exhibit and demonstration purposes, it was clear at the outset that new boats would need to be constructed to properly equip the ship when she goes back to sea for her 38th Voyage in 2014.

Building one whaleboat is no mean feat, so the prospect of building seven was daunting. Fortunately, as the Morgan project gathered steam, several organizations stepped forward to offer to build the boats. The first was the Independence Seaport Museum’s Workshop on the Water in Philadelphia. They volunteered to raise the funds and build the boat and then donate it to Mystic Seaport. This is the model that eventually spread to a total of 10 groups from seven states that have committed to building a boat. They are:

Alexandria Seaport Foundation
The Apprenticeshop
Beetle Boat Shop, in partnership with New Bedford Whaling Museum
Gannon & Benjamin Marine Railway
Great Lakes Boat Building School
Independence Seaport Museum
Lake Champlain Maritime Museum
Lowell’s Boat Shop
Rocking the Boat

Once completed the boats will be delivered to Mystic, CT. Although only seven will be on the Morgan at any one time during the voyage, each boat will spend at least some portion of the journey on board.

To follow the construction progress of the various boats, be sure to visit their parent organization’s website.