The Roanoke Island Maritime Museum located in the George Washington Creef boathouse is a working boat shop offering a look at local and regional maritime heritage through displayed watercraft, exhibits, restoration projects, and traditional skills workshops. Featured at the Museum is the North Carolina Shad boat Ella View built in 1883. The museum brings Roanoke Island boat building tradition to life in the working boat shop. Education programs focus on the use and construction of traditional watercraft and related maritime activities.
Also on the museum grounds is the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse an exterior reconstruction of the square cottage-style screw-pile lighthouse which stood at the southern entrance to Croatan Sound, near Wanchese. It was decommissioned in 1955. The lens in the lighthouse today is a 4th order Fresnel lens with a fixed white light. The lighthouse features historical and educational exhibits.
At the foot of the pier to the lighthouse is the Manteo Weather Tower an old U.S. Weather Bureau Coastal Warning Display tower. These towers were used to fly signal flags to warn mariners of wind shifts or approaching storms. You can still tell the approaching weather by the flags that are flown on the tower. The Manteo Weather Tower is believed to be one of only five towers still in use, and may be the only one with all of its original signal lights affixed.
The museums signature program is the Outer Banks Community Sailing program started in 2000 to make the adventure of sailing available to youth in Dare County and visitors. The program teaches youth ages 8 to 16 basic, intermediate and advanced sailing skills. Adult programs are also available. Instruction is based on US Sailing guidelines.
Volunteers are the backbone of the day-to-day operation of the museum and its programing. We are always looking for short-term and ongoing help in the following areas: Volunteer Staff – Be the face of the Roanoke Island Maritime Museum for a few hours a week. Greet visitors, answer general questions. Assist with weekend hours and covering vacation time of full time staff. Programs - Assist with our workshops and courses. We need volunteers for Build a Boat in a Day, Lofting and other museum sponsored programs. Boat Shop – Get involved in on-going restoration projects, upkeep of our sailing fleet, and new build projects. Sailing Instructors and Public Rides – Experienced sailors are always in demand to assist with our Learn-to-Sail program. We offer free public sails, Shallowbag Bay Sail About, in the shad boat. Boat skippers and crew are needed. Special Events – Our One-Design Regatta in July and other social events during the year.
Volunteer Benefits - Our volunteers are part of the Roanoke Island Maritime Museum family and volunteering is fun and a great way to meet new friends. There are other perks too: Learning – Develop valuable maritime skills while volunteering. Boat Use – 3 hours of volunteering earns one hour of boat use. Discounts on programs and courses – 80 hours of volunteering earns 25% off program tuition. Social events – Enjoy social activities throughout the year.
The Outer Banks Community Sailing Program located at the boat shop on the Manteo Waterfront is an "on-the-water program" of the Roanoke Island Maritime Museum. The youth program started in 2000 to make the adventure of sailing available to youth in Dare County and visitors. The application can be found in the forms & fees section of our website.
The youth sailing program is eight week-long sessions beginning the second week in June and running through the first week in August. The program is open to youth 8 to 16 years old. The program helps participants develop self-reliance, sportsmanship, knowledge and respect for the forces of nature while ensuring boating safety awareness through a combination of classroom and on-the-water time. Classes are designed to teach beginning sailors basic sailing skills and seamanship and to improve the sailing skills of intermediate sailors. Scholarships and family rates are available.
Boatbuilding plans usually come as scale drawings and tables of numbers on a few sheets of paper. Lofting is the process of taking that information and using it to produce full-sized drawings for patterns from which a boat can be built. It is the first step in boatbuilding and the most common stumbling block for anyone starting off on their own. Students loft a boat following a sequence of steps which is reusable for any boat to be lofted in the future and gain a working knowledge of the terminology and the process. (16 hours). This two-day workshop is offered mid-March 9AM – 5PM. The instructor is Craig Blackwell. This course has been popular with local craftsmen working in the boatbuilding industry. The cost per student is $120. Limit : Minimum 4
This informal sailing is open to all alumni of our youth programs. Open Sail is held most Tuesdays during the summer and early fall from 6 - 8PM, weather permitting. This program is designed to give the sailors additional “on the water” time. The sailing is supervised but this program is not designed as instructional. Parents are encouraged to help with boat set up and storage. We also encourage parents to sail with their child if possible.
On Tuesday evening, weather permitting; the public is invited to join us for a short sail on Shallowbag Bay in traditional watercraft. This is a great way to see Manteo’s waterfront and experience sailing traditional watercraft. A $5.00 donation per-person is encouraged. This program will be run by volunteers serving as crew for the boat.
This annual event is held on the last Friday and Saturday in October. The show is open to all wooden boats new construction or restored. The boats are displayed in the Creef Boathouse and Park, and in the water at the Roanoke Marshes lighthouse docks.
Exhibiting boats will be judged on owner built/restored or professional built/restored. Awards will be presented at the awards dinner Saturday evening and will include the “People’s Choice Award” and the “H.A. Creef Award “a perpetual award that is presented to the best overall boat.