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Current urgent projects!

10/9/19 Got any time this week and/or next to help prep our ship for school and public programs? Can you help staff the ship this weekend during Red Hook Open Studios and next during TankerTours for Open House New York? Prep work is doing interior painting, polishing brass with non-stinky, water-based cleaner, and tidying up. During weekend events, the work is easy-peasy minder job this weekend of sitting in ship spaces so nothing gets broken or disappears and being a ship docent next weekend. We can train you in about half an hour to be a docent who explains the one space you would be responsible for during OHNY TankerTours. Send an email or call 917-414-0565. Thanks for any support you can offer!


As a nonprofit, we depend on public support, including volunteers, willing to share their skills and experience on- and off-deck. We offer fun and training experiences in exchange, and a great vibe. To get involved, simply email chiclet@portsidenewyork.org. In your message please describe what kind of work you want to do (or don’t want to do), any relevant experience, and your availability to volunteer aboard the MARY A. WHALEN. Your help means so much to us.

Working here at PortSide with Peter and Carolina on the MARY A. WHALEN boat was a wonderful experience I’ll never forget.
— Summer Intern

What We’re Currently Looking For

Spreading the Word: PortSide has been hard at work on a new business plan to expand into building space next to the ship. We can always use people good at community outreach to help spread our message and grow community involvement. If this sounds like you or someone you know, we’d love to hear from you.

Fundraising: Support our fundraising work associated with our programs, our ship restoration and completing our FEMA-funded Sandy Alternate Project. We have identified many potential sources of funding for programs and operations, including writing grants and thanking donors with emails and phone calls. We have identified many grants and could use support writing grants.

Administrative & Creative Services: We could always use more people in the office, especially if you’re willing to work a regular commitment. We seek experts in Salesforce to help migrate our data into this program and get us familiar with using it. Opportunities exist in light bookkeeping (Quick Book entries), web updating, photo archiving, historical research, book conservation, video and sound editing (see our Red Hook WaterStories e-museum), and more. And if you’re skilled at communicating with the public and motivating others, you might be interested in becoming our Volunteer Coordinator.

Event Support: Working aboard the MARY is a great way to spend time outdoors, and event volunteers can choose how they want to enjoy it. Act as a greeter or ship docent (we’ll train you) for public programs and fundraiser events, or help us expand TankerTime hours to the weekend, which only works if we have enough people to keep the deck open. Expect to have a good time, too.

Educational Program Development: If you work in education, we could use your input to grow and deliver our impactful education programs. As of summer 2019, PortSide’s partner elementary school in Red Hook PS 676 plans to become NYC’s first maritime STEAM public elementary school!

Organizing: Great at tidying and actually enjoy it? Our tool crib, electrical locker, paint locker and storage area for catering supplies could use an organizational wizard. We’d love to have your magic touch. The forces of entropy mean that there is always something, some space, to organize around here.

Shipwork: It takes a lot to maintain an 81 year old oil tanker! We need people with the following trade skills: welding, plumbing, painting, varnishing, carpentry; and there’s HVAC work to get the wood-paneled fridge humming again.
Top of the list as of August 2019:

1.       Interior painting to get ready for the school year

2.       Exterior welding to do spot repairs

3.       Interior welding to rebuild wheelhouse window boxes (the boxes into which wood windows dropped down when open)

4.       Exterior varnish work before winter hits

5.       Carpentry projects: replacing door jams for two wheelhouse doors, building a new paneled wood door with rectangular window to match an original

6.       Lots of varnishing of removed wheelhouse doors and windows to do.  We took them out to do steelwork repairs but lack a shop space in which to work on them. Have you got a shop where that can be done?