Heritage Boat Shop

The inclusion of an active heritage wooden boat shop has always been a part of the Seaport’s goals. As stewards of the maritime history of Tacoma and the Puget Sound region, we pride ourselves on preserving the techniques of various regional boat builders. The Foss Waterway Seaport Heritage Boat Shop participates in celebrating Tacoma’s rich maritime heritage by representing the past, present and future of boat building. The Boat Shop works on:

  • The restoration and revitalization of historic boats
  • Maintaining and building upon current exhibits
  • Building of new project boats and miscellaneous crafts

Our goal is to create a working boat shop supported by dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers.  We provide opportunities for people of all skill levels to work on a broad scope of projects. The Boat Shop teaches volunteers how to use woodworking tools, work as a team to build small watercrafts, and create smaller artistic wood works.

We encourage participation from the community in our boatbuilding programs and maritime heritage education. Maritime knowledge and skills are vital to the growth of our waterfront and future generations. Guests are invited to observe techniques of the multiple projects being currently performed. Guests and volunteers are always welcome to visit us, ask questions, and join our team! Help us look toward the future.

If you are interested in volunteer opportunities CLICK HERE.


Boat Shop Hours

Tuesday 9:30am – 3:00 pm (Museum Closed to Public)

Thursday 9:30am – 3:00 pm


Ongoing Projects

The Boat Shop works on a wide variety of projects throughout the year. All projects are built from scratch and by plan. Here are some of the projects the Boat Shop is currently working on:

Pygmy Kayak

“In November of 1986 — John “Pygmy” Lockwood sold the first Queen Charlotte Kayak kit. In a 3-car garage workshop behind his house, he cut out the planet’s first computer designed, ultra-light, ultra-accurate boat kit… Pygmy Sea Kayaks was born! John did it all — design, cutting, shipping, and ads at that point. The operation moved to Port Townsend in 1987 to be in a small seaport. By 1990 John had designed our row boat kit, the Wineglass Wherry, and by 1991 John had one shop employee.” – www.pygmyboats.com

The Boat Shop is in the process of building a Pygmy Kayak, using plans over the standard kit. This will be the first Pygmy Kayak and the first kayak the Boat Shop has ever built.

6-Hour Canoe

When the Boat Shop began building this canoe in the summer of 2018, it was intended to be a 6-hour build. As happens, the Boat Shop modified the design of the canoe and transformed it from a 6-hour build, to a several-month build. Every project is unique.


Upcoming Classes

The Boat Shop arranges various classes, teaching those interested in the art of not only boatbuilding, but of wood working, building, and so much more. The Boat Shop is working on adding more classes to the calendar for 2019. For more information about upcoming classes, please check the Seaport Calendar.