Volunteer for the Northwest Maritime Center

Volunteers support our mission all year long!

We have a dedicated team of volunteers working in the Boatshop, the Chandlery, and for other programs and events throughout the year, including over 500 volunteers for the Wooden Boat Festival alone. We are always eager to have new folks join us. Explore our volunteer pages to discover ways you can be involved with the Wooden Boat Festival, the Race to Alaska, or year round at the Northwest Maritime Center. Don’t forget to fill out a volunteer application!

Volunteer Highlight

My name is Beth O’Neal. I have lived in Port Townsend for 22 years and raised my two daughters here. I love being surrounded by the water, marine life, and this charming town. After graduating from massage school in Seattle, I moved to Port Townsend and began to build my own practice. The Wooden Boat Festival is something I have always looked forward to; I loved the great music and checking out the beautiful boats many years before I signed up as a volunteer.

My husband, Andi Neisen, took the WSU Beach Watchers class in 2009. He shared what he learned in regards to plastic covering our beaches and… read more.

Volunteer for the Wooden Boat Festival

September 7–9, 2018

Let’s Go!

Volunteer for the Race to Alaska

Race Start: June 14, 2018

Let’s Go!

Volunteer Year Round for the NWMC

Get involved all year!

Let’s Go!

Year-Round Volunteer Opportunities

While our peak season is during the summer, we have a bustling campus year round that relies on the support of our volunteers. Whether you’re interested in helping out in the Boatshop, bartending at an event, salvaging hardware for Marine Thrift, or helping out in the office, we have a place for all skills, interests, and schedule preferences.

Take a look below at the volunteer opportunities we have going year round; then fill out a volunteer application to let us know how you want to be involved.

Volunteers in the Chandlery act as an ambassador for the Northwest Maritime Center and help connect visitors with the best maritime-themed items and apparel. They work on an incredible, fun-leaving team of Chandlery staff and other volunteers, and they get to connect with locals and visitor alike. If you enjoy retail, boats, or just chatting with others about our awesome town, you might be a great fit for the Chandlery! If you’re interested, please fill out our volunteer application at the link above, be sure to check “Chandlery Retail” as a volunteer area of interest, and we’ll contact you when a volunteer opportunity arises!

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, we’ll be providing rowboats for folks to rent out from the NWMC deck, and we need a handful of volunteers to run the rentals booth. Imagine yourself spending time by the water, chatting with locals and tourists alike, launching and receiving boats, and relaxing on a beautiful, water-front deck during downtime. What more could you want from a volunteer gig?

Email volunteer@nwmaritime.org if interested!

Friday-Sunday, 10-6

Skills needed: friendly, experience with rowboats, kayaks, or other small boats, able to use Square on an iPad or phone (we can teach you!), 18+

Put your boat knowledge and customer service skills to good use—consider joining the Marine Thrift volunteer team! Marine Thrift is looking for a weekly volunteer to help with reclaiming, re-purposing and reusing marine hardware, fasteners, accessories and tools. The job involves staffing a service counter, retail sales, product research, inventory management, and pricing items. If you’re interested in helping out please contact our volunteer coordinator at volunteer@nwmaritime.org or 360.385.3628 x115.
Office volunteers help keep us organized, responsive, and professional. If you have experience in an office setting, or if you want to build your skills in this area, we want your help! Office administration tasks include:
• Greeting the public and answering phones
• Helping with bulk mailings and other general office duties
• Sharing Maritime Center information with the public
• Archiving NWMC photos
• Serving as NWMC Docent Historian (requires knowledge of local maritime history)
• Stewardship of the Maritime Center archives
• Photographing NWMC annual events
Boats are sometimes donated to the Northwest Maritime Center and need to be transported to Port Townsend. If you have a truck and can tow a boat, or if you can move a boat on the water, please let us know!
Volunteers who give tours help connect people with our mission in a very direct way, whether that’s showing someone around our campus as a Maritime Center Docent, giving motor boat tours of the Port Townsend waterfront on Martha J, or showing people our state-of-the-art marine simulator. We need folks with a knowledge of our programs (or a willingness to learn!) who want to represent the Maritime Center to the public.
We occasionally need help with our youth programs. You might be assisting with classes and knot-tying demonstrations or helping to maintain youth programs materials (like stenciling PFDs or creating sail demonstration materials). If you love kids and feel passionate about boats and the water, this is for you!
Get hands-on experience in wooden boat maintenance, restoration, and all the things that go with it, while helping to maintain the Wooden Boat Foundation and Northwest Maritime Center boats. Opportunities involve everything from painting boats to tool maintenance and shop cleanup.
We are seeking weekly volunteers to register people for our Youth & Adult Maritime Programs. If you enjoy interacting with others in an exciting environment, feel comfortable with computer basics, and have been looking for a way to get involved with the Maritime Center on a weekly basis, this is the opportunity for you! You would be helping people choose classes, using a computer to register class participants, selling memberships, collecting payment, and distributing paperwork for registrants. We need volunteers on these days: Wednesday–Saturday, 10–2 during the summer. Email volunteer@nwmaritime.org or call 360.385.3628 x115 if interested!
Interested in something a little more hands-on and have a general knowledge of boats? Become a part of our Glean Team! This is an on-call group of volunteers that helps salvage reusable parts from old boats. This position involves irregular hours, so flexibility with scheduling is important. You don’t need to be a boat expert, but you shouldn’t be afraid of a drill, either! Work parties will be once or twice a month, from 1-3 hours each time.
The NWMC hosts various community and fundraising events throughout the year that rely on the help of our volunteers. Our events include the Classic Mariners’ Regatta, Shipwrights’ Regatta, Speaker Series, Navigator Brunch, She Tells Sea Tales (a fundraiser event for the Girls Boat Project), various community events in the Chandlery, and the Maritime Swap Meet. Opportunities for volunteering include:
• Bartending and ticket-taking
• Assistance with planning, marketing, and day-of tasks
• Help distributing posters, flyers and programs for Maritime Center programs and events
You don’t have to have a captain’s license to help us maintain our facility, fleet, and docks! If you love a good day of hard work and enjoy all things boat-related, we could use your help! Facility maintenance tasks include painting, sanding, refurbishing, and more! Boat and docks maintenance tasks include haul-outs, cleaning, and painting, to name a few! Any necessary training, tools, and safety equipment will be provided.
Help our librarian catalog, organize, and maintain books in our growing library, as well as help members access information.
We sometimes need folks with extensive boating experience to help us out with various on-the-water jobs. This could mean helping to transport a boat, giving waterfront tours, or even supporting our regattas, the Wooden Boat Festival, or the Race to Alaska.
Each year the Wooden Boat Festival draws thousands of people from all over the world, who attend the presentations at the Northwest Maritime Center. The experts assembled for this event know the Northwest Maritime Center is a great venue with a state-of-the-art audio/video system, and have come to rely on the AV Team to run all of their events, from simple PowerPoint presentations to feature movie presentations and multi-media panel discussions. In addition, the NWMC hosts speakers throughout the year that rely on the AV team’s knowledge and expertise.

You don’t need any experience to join the AV team, just an interest in AV and a willingness to learn! Our AV captain will teach you all you need to know.

Fill Out an Application

Already submitted your 2018 volunteer application, signed the waiver, and just need to update your information? Click here to do so.


We’d love to help make volunteering easy for you. Call our volunteer coordinator at 360.385.3628 x124 or email volunteer@nwmaritime.org.