NC Maritime Museum’s Annual Wooden Boat Show

Wooden Boat Magazine

Wooden Boat

The longest running boat show in the Southeast

Whether you’re a boating enthusiast or prefer to keep your feet on dry land, the 43rd Annual Wooden Boat Show has activities for all ages. The show takes place at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort on Saturday, May 5, 2018. It is the longest ongoing wooden boat show in the Southeast.

This free event celebrates the art of North Carolina boat building and the sport of boat racing. Dozens of handcrafted wooden boats will be on display and activities will be available for all ages from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The 44th Annual Wooden Boat Show received top honors from the Southeast Tourism Society. The organization selected the North Carolina Maritime Museum’s Annual Wooden Boat Show as a “Top 20 Event for the Southeast” for May 2018.  This was the fourth year in a row the museum has received the prestigious honor for the Annual Wooden Boat Show.

Paul Fontenoy, Curator of Maritime Research and Technology, says the show has something to offer everyone, even if you’re not a wooden boat enthusiast. “We pay a lot of attention to making sure the show is not just interesting for wooden boat enthusiasts,” Fontenoy explains. “So we have activities for children and opportunities for families to do things together, such as taking a boat ride.”

Youngsters can take part in Maritime games and crafts in the Wooden Boat Kids area. Families can team up to test their skills in sailing radio-controlled model boats. And, kids can also make their own model sailboats. Enjoy traditional skills demonstrations & displays, educational activities, historic vessels, boat models, traditional sailboat races at 3 p.m., and sailboat rides from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Barbour Boat Exhibit

One of the most anticipated events is the demonstration by Jim Goodwin with his “Ships in Bottles.” Attendees will have the opportunity to see one of the best known craftsmen in the art of building ships in a bottle. Over the weekend, he will demonstrate how he inserts ships into a bottle. His demonstrations will take place Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Friday night, he will be conducting demonstrations during the evening reception.

The actual inserting of the ship in a bottle is easy. According to Goodwin, “you can spend hours and hours building the ship.” “The actual inserting of the ship in a bottle takes less than a minute”, he said. Goodwin is quick to point out that the engineering of the ship is the key in making sure the final miniature ship fits through the neck of the bottle.

Goodwin’s “Ships in a Bottle” were featured in the Dreamworks’ Production of “The Lovely Bones”. He provided ships in bottles and set dressings for their adaptation of Alice Sebold’s 2002 novel.

2015 Boat Show

Wooden Boats

His ships in a bottle were also used for a sketch on NBC’s Emmy Award-winning late-night comedy Saturday Night Live. Most recently, Goodwin was featured on a segment of CBS Sunday Morning with Mo Rocca. His craft of shipbuilding has also been featured on WRAL’s Tar Heel Traveler.

Three years ago, the legendary Cricket II made its debut at Beaufort’s Annual Wooden Boat Show. Once again, visitors to the Beaufort waterfront will have the opportunity to see the fishing boat that became the inspiration for the book and movie Jaws.

Fort Macon Sail & Power Squadron has partnered with the North Carolina Maritime Museum to bring a Boating Skills Virtual Trainer for demonstration. Attendees will have an opportunity to “virtually” maneuver the “Boston Whaler Dauntless 200” on a lake where there are no risks as you approach other boats in meeting, crossing, and overtaking situations. In addition to the Annual Wooden Boat Show, the Fort Macon virtual demonstration will also take place on Friday, May 4 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday May 6 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Don Van Hoy became fascinated with rope while serving in the U.S. Coast Guard. That was over fifteen years ago and his fascination still continues. He is keeping alive a tradition of working with ropes and knots for practical purposes. Known as Marlinspike seamanship, the practice goes back as long as there have been ships going to sea. Van Hoy will be demonstrating the art of knot work.

There will be a display of wooden model North Carolina boats by Robert Tuttle. He will have to scale model boats including Harker’s Island shallow water skiffs and Core Sound workboats.

One of the main attractions at the Annual Wooden Boat Show is the many traditional wooden boats. But, there’s another show that takes place on a smaller scale and it’s always a big draw for boat enthusiasts and landlubbers alike. It’s the Carolina Maritime Model Exposition with model boats ranging in average from 25” to 40”.

Sailboat Rides

Beaufort Oars

The number of model boats on exhibit will range from thirty to close to sixty models. Often some members of the Carolina Maritime Model Society bring in as many as eight to ten models each.

“These handcrafted vessels are indeed a labor of love, sometimes taking 12 to 14 months to complete,” according to Grant Caraway, Manager of the Museum’s Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center.

Attendees to the show will have the opportunity to vote for “Spectator’s Choice” award. The award goes to the “most popular” model at the show and is voted on solely by those visitors. The exposition is held in the auditorium of the North Carolina Maritime Museum.

On Thursday, May 3, and Friday, May 4, free boat rides will be offered from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. outside the Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center (a $5 per person donation is suggested, which will go to the sailing program). The Annual Wooden Boat Show weekend opening event on Friday, May 4, includes a reception and live music from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

North Carolina Maritime Museum is located at 315 Front Street, Beaufort, NC 28516. For more information about the museum, visit