Students rowing boats that they built

Boat Building Camp

Our Boat building classes help build vocational skills, leadership & teamwork

Kids with 2 finished boats

We conduct boat building classes and boating skills/marine ecology classes for Chicago's youth.

Boy painting Boat

Program are now open for Registration and have been modified to meet Phase IV Revitalization for Illinois.

Launching a boat into the Chicago River


Check out photos of all in
our program gallery.

Boys and freshly painted bottom of the boat

Sign-up to volunteer.



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Our mission is to bring people back to the Lake and River that created Chicago, to teach marine ecology and the maritime arts, and to help kids find themselves and new pathways by learning to build boats. 

Our vision focuses on Chicago youth development to provide new opportunities, experiential learning and open new pathways through the maritime arts, particularly for those in under-served and under-resourced neighborhoods of the city.

We seek to develop a sustainable, diverse organization enriching Chicago youth by providing practical hands-on, STEAM, and life skills by teaching with small boats and maritime arts to enrich the lives of Chicago families and communities.


We envision Chicago’s great rivers and lake becoming approachable, accessible, and possible for all Chicagoans creating opportunities to encourage a connection to nature and the water through recreation, sharing knowledge, passion and community to open new vocational and avocational opportunities.


Long-term we envision creating a Maritime Park or Campus with water access for similarly-focused organizations to offer advocacy, education, programming, and even

The Chicago Maritime Arts Center is a proud member of the Teaching With Small Boat Alliances (TWSBA) -- a network of similar programs nationally and internationally supporting the 20-plus year movement of youth development through teaching with small boats and encouraging project-based learning.

For more information about our programs download our brochure.

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Program Brochure


2020 Annual Report
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We are proud to support and maintain a close relationship with the Chicago Maritime Museum and their mission to foster learning about the impact of the region’s waterways on Chicago’s evolution.  For more about the museum click HERE >