The Antique Boat Museum located in Clayton, NY (Thousands Islands Region) is seeking a Master Boatwright.

Reporting directly to the Executive Director, and working in coordination with the Curator/Collections Manager, Director of Educator, Maintenance and Operations Manager, and Volunteer Lead Captain, this position provides hands-on leadership and performance, and follow-through for all aspects of the daily operations of the ABM In-Water Fleet and boat shop programming based in the E.J. Noble Historic Stone Building and Mary Street Shop.  The Master Boatwright will be responsible for reestablishing the boat building school and/or a series of classes pertaining to classic craftsmanship and traditional boat building skills.  The Master Boatwright must possess good communication skills along with the aptitude to teach your skills to volunteers, apprentices, and the general public. Must be comfortable working in full public view, interfacing and interpreting to visitors daily during the open season. Schedule will include special events and weekends during open season, and transitioning to M-F schedule during the closed season.


In-water Fleet/Operational Boat Program

Pre-season (Mid-March, April, early May):

In coordination with Curator/Collection Manager, Maintenance & Operations Manager, & Appropriate Specialty Contractors, i.e. Boat Haulers, Mechanic(s):

  • Move boats out of winter storage to shop parking lot/staging area
  • Prep all vessels for launch: charge batteries, de-winterize all engines, inspect hull of vessel to ensure no damage due to winter storage, bottom paint
  • Launch motorized fleet boats at ramp; and coordinate boat launch of larger motorized boats by travel lift (at nearby marina). Schedule with captains and for shakedown upon launch
  • Follow pre-launch protocol for smaller in-water fleet and small sailing vessels. This includes body inspection, re-seaming, and possible painting, cleaning, or more extensive hull repairs
  • Launch (with slings) sailing vessels and rig sailing vessels

 Season: May – October

  • Schedule and confirm regular maintenance on fleet vessels: Performing and/or working with appropriate Specialty Contractors to perform oil and filter changes every 100 hours, fuel filters, clean raw water strainer
  • Communicate with all responsible Staff Team members, Volunteers, Specialty Contractors as to the status of in-water fleet boats (Weekly Team Meetings occur every Tuesday morning)
  • Address & schedule unexpected mechanical maintenance (Diagnostic/corrective procedure of electrical systems, mechanical systems; prop change haul outs. A priority on fixing issues without major loss of service or cancellation of Friend of Museum ride)
  • Oversee and/or perform unscheduled repairs (with assistance of mechanic) such as engine removals/ replacements, transmission replacement. Repairs may involve multi-day halt in operation for certain vessels
  • Communicate with Volunteer Lead Captain & Captains in order cultivate daily/weekly information of boat performance
  • Cosmetic maintenance on all boats during season, potentially requiring haul out
  • Perform structural repairs; Post USCG/COI exam required, time sensitive repair work
  • Train as assistant for Passenger Lift to provide access to ride boats
  • Perform maintenance and repairs on smaller sailing vessels without interruption to sailing Tuesday and Event Sailing (occasionally requiring haul out)
  • Routine, pre-season, & emergency maintenance of safety boats coordinating with Director of Education and Specialty Contractors
  • Attend initial Tuesday Night Sailing & Rowing in order to access boat and perform any repairs

Post-Season (October-March):

  • Coordinate haul out of fleet boats by trailer and travel lift
  • Identify repair and maintenance needs of in-water fleet by end of October for budgeting purposes
  • Oversee and/or perform cleaning and winterization of all engines inboard and outboard
  • Participate in careful storage of boats in barns
  • Repair/Restoration of all in-water vessels (small and large) in order to prepare for next season, either at ABM or coordinating with other shops in the area
  • Execute winter projects with volunteers: past projects have included: boat bottoms, rebuilding transom of Chris-Craft, total refinishing of 30’ runabout

Administrative Responsibilities:

  • Keep records & pictures for all maintenance, repair, & restoration, including filling out condition reports with Curator/Collections Manager
  • Preparing budgets, ordering, and organizing shop and project supplies
  • Track inventory of In-Kind Sponsor products (Mirka currently, in past Epiphanes) coordinate with Associate Director of Advancement on communication with each company
  • Tool maintenance (both power and hand)
  • Identify potential restoration projects (Budget, Timeline, and potential programming/demos built around projects)
  • Build in Shop Infrastructure (Organize, Arrange, Build more accessibility)
  • Research related to watercraft preservation and specific assignments
  • Serve on the Collections and Education Committees

Liaison for Boat Shop Volunteers:

  • Work with groups of year-round and seasonal volunteers in the boat shop to maintain small craft working fleet, special projects, and other institutional wood working needs.
  • Foster good will and communication with the volunteers
  • Recruit and work with new volunteers when needed and if interested

 Curatorial Related:

Work in Conjunction with Curator/Collections Manager in:

  • The moving and relocation of collection objects
  • Occasionally assist with exhibition maintenance and installation (featuring boats)
  • Assessing collection objects, specifically boats, for potential collection based projects, ranging from partial and full restorations to stabilizing and documentation for the purposes of expanded understanding and on-going object cataloging
  • Hauling and transporting special temporary exhibits, which in general includes boats on trailers, to fellow museums and/or off-site storage locations

Educational Programming:

Work in Conjunction with Director of Education to:

  • Develop, oversee, and/or teach programming offered in the Stone Building/Mary St. Shop
  • Participate in the scheduling of Stone Building use
  • Schedule and participate in demonstrations for Event days (may include outside craftspeople)


  • Minimum of four years of experience in a variety of ship and boat maintenance, preservation or restoration projects. Time spent in formal Boat Building Programs may replace up to two years of experience
  • A high level of aptitude and ability in carpentry, finish work, rigging, etc. as related to traditional watercraft preservation and new construction. Some knowledge in marine engine and systems a plus
  • Understanding the sensitivity of working on museum objects and taking full consideration for the difference in approaches of preservation, conservation, and restoration

Knowledge, Skills & Abilities:

  • Understands and adheres to the standards prescribed by the American Alliance of Museums, including the collections policies and the code of ethics, as well as accepted good practices
  • Dedicated individual with a pleasant demeanor and positive attitude
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Strong organizational, planning, and research skills
  • Detail-oriented, meticulous, and conscientious in following through on assigned tasks
  • Proficiency with computers in standardized word processing, and spreadsheet programs
  • Ability to work independently, exercise initiative and good judgment to successfully organize and complete assignments
  • Ability to collaborate and work as part of a small team
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with staff team, donors, volunteers, and visitors
  • Commitment to being an active participant in the Antique Boat Museum community by attending events, forging relationships with volunteers, and donors
  • Commitment to learning and growing in the field
  • Ability to travel, work evenings and/or weekends as necessary in the performance of assigned responsibilities
  • Hold a valid driver’s license
  • Job requires bending, lifting, climbing, and prolonged physical activity and exposure to all weather conditions

Application Instructions:

 Candidates should submit cover letter, resume, two writing samples and three references to Debbie Putnam, Controller/HR, Master Boatwright Search, Antique Boat Museum, 750 Mary Street, Clayton, NY 13624, or email to More information is available at

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