Volunteers in the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum Boatworks program in Florida are keeping a maritime tradition alive.
About 25 volunteers, many of whom are retirees, are building wooden boats, learning the history behind them and sharing their knowledge with visitors. Collaborating with historians and museum archaeologists on each step, the vessels are built with historical accuracy to the smallest of details.
“None of us are professional boatbuilders,” Dr. Jim Gaskins, a retired general surgeon, has been a volunteer with the program since its launch in 2007, told the St. Augustine Record. “We’ve kind of taught ourselves.”
During the museum’s annual Night Fest completed boats are included in a drawing, with proceeds going back to the museum and into the next round of boatworks projects.
The program also received a grant in 2014 from the Crisp-Ellert Fund, which recognizes the boatbuilding process as a type of local folk art.