Volunteering at CWB

Since 1977, The Center for Wooden Boats has been a volunteer powered organization. Today, over 500 volunteers contribute on a regular basis to support hands-on learning and access to the water. Volunteers help with virtually every aspect of CWB’s operations and lead many of its most mission-centric programs. Opportunities include:

  • Visitor Services
  • Livery
  • Boatshop
  • Sunday Public Sail
  • Sailing Instruction
  • Special Events
  • Office Assistance
  • Special Skills and more



Join us at Orientation to learn more or get started. Orientations take place every 2nd Saturday of the month from 10am-12pm. No RSVP required. Just arrive at the Boathouse and look for the signs.



We invite you to fulfill your court mandated community service hours with us!  As a community service volunteer you will support our mission and operations through light janitorial and facilities maintenance tasks. These include pumping boats, sweeping and mopping our gallery space, washing windows, etc. We have a limited number of community service shifts available each week. Shifts available are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday between the hours of 10 and 5. We limit hours to 4/day and 8/week for any one volunteer.

The application and approval process takes between 5 and 10 business days. Please plan accordingly and do NOT submit an application if you need to complete your hours within that time frame.



Service Learning

Service Learning is a graduation requirement for many students. We invite you to fulfill that requirement through participation in our general volunteer program. Activities include Livery, Boatshop, Visitor Services, Toy Boat Building, and Model Boat Pond Sailing.

Students of all ages may complete Service Learning requirements at The Center for Wooden Boats. Typically, students enter the general corps of volunteers by attending a Volunteer Orientation, offered every second Saturday of the month from 10:00am – 12:00pm. Any of our regular volunteer roles are eligible for Service Learning requirements. If your Service Learning program requires special benchmarks or skills to be acquired, please contact the Volunteer Manager to discuss options for meeting those requirements within the parameters of our program.

It is up to the student to provide any necessary forms or paperwork required for their program. All volunteers must log hours through CWB’s own internal volunteer database in addition to special paperwork required by the program.

Steps to participate:

  1. Fill our online application.
  2. Attend an orientation. Offered every second Saturday of the month from 10:00am – 2:00pm.
  3. Meet with Volunteer Coordinator to review an specific requirements of your service learning program.

Students in grades 9 – 12 looking for a more structured experience may be interested in our High School Program Assistant position.

High School Program Assistant

High School Program Assistants may also count their hours towards a Service Learning requirement, however, this program offers a more structured internship-like experience for youth grades 9 -12. Participants choose from 4 assignment areas – Youth Sailing, Livery, Field Trips, or Visitor Services – to gain profession skills and service learning hours through meaningful engagement in program delivery.

As a High School Program Assistant you will have the opportunity to work with classic wooden sail and row boats, repair and maintain our fleet, assist with the youth classes, and become part of the operations of a non-profit organization. You’ll have the opportunity to work with many different boats and people.


The primary duties of the High School Program Assistants are to provide support within a chosen area: Youth Sailing, Livery, Field Trips or Visitor Services as needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s involved in a High School Program Assistant position? What sort of time commitment is it?

Time, desire to learn, and willingness to work with the public are the qualities we look for in applicants. Most program assistants work 20 hours per week, for a minimum of three weeks during the summer. The Livery program assistant will work 10-16 hours a week for six weeks from mid-July through August.  During their tenure with CWB, the program assistant will be learning the necessary skills for their job area, then work on tasks that utilize these skills. All of the jobs at CWB involve education, customer service and outreach. From structured classes to just answering the questions of a curious public, it is the role of all CWB staff and volunteers to educate visitors or direct them to someone who can.

Program assistants will also have unique opportunities over the course of the summer to improve their own seamanship and participate in special events & trainings to bond with fellow participants.

When can I start?

This year, the program will begin April 9th and run through September 4th.  Training dates will be scheduled based on department and applicant availability.  Positions can be extended into the school year with parent and staff approval.

Who will be working with the Program Assistants?

CWB Youth Sailing & Boatbuilding Manager will be the main contact for the High School Program Assistants.  In addition to this oversight, all program assistants will be assigned a lead staff person who will mentor and coordinate their individual experience at CWB.  All of our staff and volunteers have been screened by the Washington State Patrol.

What about family trips?

No problem. As long as the program assistant is still able to commit to the required time commitments, family trips can definitely be accommodated with prior notice to the staff mentor.

How does one apply?  What does it cost?

Fill out an application and send it along with a cover letter.  In the cover letter make sure you state why you’re applying and what your preferred area of work.  There is no cost for this program.  Check with your school counselor as volunteer hours accrued in this program may apply towards community service credit.

We are dedicated to providing a fun, educational and safe environment for youth and students to explore volunteering. As a result, we have some policies specifically related to youth volunteers. Please contact the Volunteer Manager with questions, volunteer@cwb.org.

Youth Volunteer Policies

We are dedicated to providing a fun, educational and safe environment for youth and students to explore volunteering. As a result, we have some policies specifically related to youth volunteers.


Volunteers ages 15-17 must have the written consent of a parent or legal guardian prior to volunteering. The volunteer responsibilities assigned to a minor will be performed in a non-hazardous environment and will comply with all appropriate requirements of child labor laws. No person under the age of fifteen is permitted to volunteer unless they are accompanying a parent or guardian who is a volunteer. Persons under the age of 15 are considered “guests” of the volunteer with whom they are volunteering and therefore are not covered by CWB’s insurance. Should a “guest” of a volunteer violate any of the policies outlined in this document, the volunteer accompanying them shall be held responsible.


To ensure the safety of our youth, Staff and Volunteers at CWB maintain diligent standards of conduct. All volunteers who are involved with a youth specific program are required to take a Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Training.

Regardless of assignment, all volunteers must adhere to the following policies. Violations of these policies may result in immediate dismissal, even if no harm is done. For the purpose of this policy, “present” is defined as having line of sight view.

  • There should always be two adults present with any individual or group of youth whenever possible. The adults may be any combination of CWB staff, volunteers, teachers and/or chaperones. This ratio is mandatory if the youth involved are age 12 and under.
  • In situations where the preferred ratio is not possible due to the nature of the program, and all of the youth are age 13 and over, there must be at least two youth present with any adult.
  • An adult may never be alone with a single youth for any reason.


Sometimes it is unclear if a behavior is appropriate, inappropriate, or harmful. Here are some more examples of appropriate and inappropriate behavior when dealing with youth:


Appropriate: Inappropriate/Harmful:
  • Praise
  • Positive reinforcement for good work/behavior
  • Sexually provocative or degrading comments
  • Risqué jokes


Appropriate: Inappropriate/Harmful:
  • Pats on the back or shoulder
  • Non-romantic hugging initiated by the youth. Hugging should be directed by the adult to side-to-side contact instead of pelvis-to-pelvis.


  • Patting the buttocks
  • Tickling
  • Hugging initiated by an adult
  • Intimate/romantic/sexual contact
  • Corporal punishment
  • Showing pornography or involving youth in pornographic activities


All CWB staff, consultants, and volunteers are prohibited from nannying, babysitting, or developing social relationships with minors they meet through CWB.


Staff and volunteers are not permitted to transport youth in vehicles unless it is a part of the curriculum of the program and appropriate ratios are maintained.