The Watercraft Center

Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center

Opened in 1992, the Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center carries on the rich boatbuilding heritage of North Carolina coast.​

In 1980, Harvey W. Smith’s widow Mrs. Evelyn Smith donated property on Front Street for the building of a new museum to replace the Hampton Mariners Museum That facility had outgrown its location on Turner Street. At that time, first time museum curator Charles R. McNeill was offered anything the museum could use by Mrs. Smith from her late husband’s maritime collection. That was the beginning of the North Carolina Maritime Museum as we know it today.

Today, The Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center showcases the art and skill of traditional boat building. 

The museum’s Watercraft Center sits on Taylor’s Creek, across from the North Carolina Maritime Museum. Today, locals, visitors and boaters alike are encouraged to watch, and take boatbuilding courses offered throughout the year for all skill levels. 

The Watercraft Center at the North Carolina Maritime Museum has three primary missions:

1.) Preservation and Restoration – Preserving significant examples of the state’s watercraft is a key element in fulfilling the Museum’s mission.

2.) Boatbuilding Demonstrations – The Watercraft Center preserves and transmits the heritage of wooden boatbuilding by publicly demonstrating the construction of new boats using traditional techniques.

3.) Education – A key Watercraft Center mission is actively teaching wooden boatbuilding to new generations. 

Rent the Watercraft Center

The Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center is available on a very few dates each year (usually late April/early May, late October/early November, and the last half of December).

Seating: 150 Reception, or 125 Seated Dinner
Base Fee: $3,500.00
2 hours set-up, 3 hours of event, 1 hour clean-up, 
3 hours security
Additional Hours: $400 per hour + $30.00 per hour security
Required Deposit: $500.

Please note: Wedding / Event Planner required.

The North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort, NC offers a variety of rental locations, all centering around rich maritime heritage and coastal scenery. Walk down the aisle in our Watercraft Center with a waterfront sunset backdrop. Dance beneath a night sky and enjoy breezes off the Intercoastal Waterway at our Gallants Channel site. Surround guests with maritime history, culture and beauty in the Museum.