build to paddle

DIY Seaport Style!

Join Independence Seaport Museum for this fully immersive boatbuilding experience! Build to Paddle is a multi-weekend course in which students will build their own kayaks with instruction from The Independence Seaport Museum’s shipwrights and learn how to paddle safely on the lower tidal Delaware River with the museum’s ACA-certified kayak instructors.

Kayak Examples


Participants must be present for all dates listed below:

  • Building of the Kayak: May 13 – 15 and May 20 – 22*
  • Testing and Paddling of the Kayak: May 22 and June 18*


*June 18 is the preferred paddle date, but the date can be switched for paddlers on a case-by-case basis.

*All building dates start at 9 AM and end at 5 PM.

What Can I Build?:

Students can choose from Chesapeake Light Craft’s Wood Duck Models (Okoume Deck) in three different sizes: 10’, 12’, or 14’. Each kit will be prepared by instructors so that students hit the ground running from day one. During the building portion of this program, participants will be guided through step-by-step as they construct their kayak, and will walk away with a completed hull ready for paint or varnish (complimentary shop hours will be available in June for students to paint, varnish, and install hardware).

What Happens When the Kayaks Are Built?:

Throughout the building process, students will learn helpful kayaking tips and tricks from the Independence Seaport Museum’s seasoned kayak guides. Then, on May 22, builders will participate in an American Canoe Association Level One Introduction to Kayaking course. A few weeks later, on June 18, participants are invited to participate in a kayak excursion to Three Sisters Shipwreck (life jackets and paddles included).


Student Tuition:

$1,100 for non-members I $950 for Members

                *Does not include kayaking kit. Those prices are below.

                Tuition Includes:

  • One-year Individual membership to Independence Seaport Museum
  • Free registration for the 2022 Walnut2Walnut River Challenge (a $125 value!)
  • Discounts on all Independence Seaport Museum kayak excursions for the 2022 season

Kayaking Kit Options and Pricing:

  • 10’ Wood Duck (Okoume Deck): $1,500
  • 12’ Wood Duck (Okoume Deck): $1,500
  • 14’ Wood Duck (Okoume Deck): $1,610

*Please note, the minimum age requirement for this class is 16 years old.  An adult must be present.

visit the seaport museum

Immerse yourself in award-winning and interactive exhibits and climb aboard the oldest floating steel warship in the world on Cruiser Olympia and submerge yourself aboard the World War II-era Submarine Becuna.