Volunteer on a historic ship in the fascinating neighborhood of Red Hook, Brooklyn.

Volunteering at PortSide was featured in Time Out!

June 1, 2017, we will be right next to the new citywide ferry dock in Red Hook!  20 minutes to lower Manhattan!

To get involved, call 917-414-0565 or email chiclet@portsidenewyork.org.  Please send an email describing what kind of work you want to do (or don’t want to do), your relevant experience (if any) and the kind of hours you have available.

Volunteer opportunities are diverse:


2017 update:  we are particularly interested in help from people with trade skills (welding, plumbing, refinishing of woodwork, painting).  

  • We seek supervisor for summer 2017 CTE internship working with High School students from WHSAD who do preservation work aboard. Supervisor must know how to prep and paint steel, how to restore woodwork and varnish finishes. We are seeking funding. This may become a paid position.
  • Marine ops advisor and purchasing agent wanted! Someone who determines what doohickey we need and who makes it and how to get it.
  • Plumbing repair to restore central heat system and domestic water systems.
  • Interior improvements: Willing to tackle heavy-duty cleaning (eg, degreasing)? Sanding & painting, restoring tile floor in the otherwise restored galley.
  • Mechanical/engineering: We need parts of connecting rods taken off a spare engine block, and there is always mechanical tinkering to do.
  • Welding: We need some light welding repair in various places.

Varied admin and creative work: We seek a volunteer coordinator, someone good at communicating with people and getting folks here to run ship tours or TankerTime. We can use specialized skills such as historical research, and book conservation. Can you organize a photo archive, edit sound and video?

Help run events:  Want to enjoy sunsets afloat? We seek volunteers (2 per night) to expand our Sunset TankerTime from the 2016 schedule of Second Sundays in summer.  We need greeters and ship docents (we train!) for public programs, and helping hands at program and fundraiser events (where you get to have a good time too!).

Environmental education:  February 2017 - We need some naturalists to assist and supervise on Saturdays a student-led inventory or Red Hook waterfront wildlife. The Stuyvesant High School Environmental Club approached PortSide to do a project, and we need people willing to work with them. We also need advice on what kind of gear to get to catch marine life and grow marine life on man-made habitat.

Educational program development: Do you work in education? We could use your input to grow our education programs. 

Organizing stuff:  Great at tidying closets? We could use you! Our tool crib, electrical locker, paint locker and storage area for catering supplies could use an organizer wizard. 

Architect and small space design:  We could use renderings for programs proposed for inside a building.   Can you design custom furniture and storage units for our shipboard office spaces? Better design would help us fit everything.

The PortSide crew has a high sense of fun and lively team spirit - and a great ship cat Chiclet. Join us and help bring life and change to NYC’s waterfront!

PortSide NewYork and the historic ship MARY A. WHALEN  are on Pier 11, Atlantic Basin, Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY 11231. This is a compelling site on an industrial pier between the hip cultural center Pioneer Works, the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal and the Red Hook Container Terminal.  Our view sweeps from the Statue of Liberty to the Freedom Tower. Pitch in to support programs such as those in the video below!