""The passion for boats / building boats / being around and being in boats, that exudes everyone at the BMC is so contagious. I have a way deeper appreciation for the water because of my experience with the BMC. Your patience and the time you spend with our students means more than you know. Thanks again for everything you do for the students at SMSD.""

- Ron Czech, Teacher at St. Mary's School for the Deaf

Whether it’s building in our shop, in your school or community center, or paddling on-the-waterways of Western New York, our student programs provide hands-on, minds-on learning. Students will gain new experiences building boats with our volunteer mentors, paddle shaping, and paddling in canoes. We build boats. We build students. We build community.

Students involved in our educational programs will:

  • Learn real-life applications of STEM and design principles
  • Increase their communication skills, self-confidence, engagement, and teamwork
  • Demonstrate safety awareness and craftsmanship
  • Engage in critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills
  • Have pride in something that they’ve built with their hands
  • Experience on-the-water programming and gain knowledge of Lake Erie Watershed
  • We currently offer two programs:



    In BMC’s Hand-to-Hand Program, students from partner schools and community organizations are invited to the Buffalo Maritime Center’s shop as a credited class or as an afterschool program during the school year. The students in our Hand-to-Hand Program have built three different boat designs: the Six-Hour Canoe, the Olmsted Skiff, and the St. Ayles Skiff. At the end of the school year, students launch their boats in Hoyt Lake at the Annual Student Boat Launch. The Olmsted Skiffs are offered as rentals to the general public at Hoyt Lake during the summer, the St. Ayles Skiff becomes part of the BMC's active fleet, and the Six-Hour Canoes become the property of the partnering organization.




    The Navigator Program brings boatbuilding and paddle shaping to the Western New York community. Students work as a team to build Six-Hour Canoes or individually to shape a wooden canoe paddle. After the boats are complete, the school or community center owns the boat. After the paddles are shaped, the students own the paddles and can use them as a free pass to boat rentals at Hoyt Lake during the summer. The Navigator Program also offers an on-the-water program where students learn to paddle in a canoe and learn about the Lake Erie Watershed. Our programs are adaptable to your programming needs.



    BMC’s educational programs exist because of passionate, dedicated, and committed volunteers. Adult and student mentors accompany us during both our Hand-to-Hand and Navigator Programs to provide students with diverse styles of mentorship and career advice that are crucial for their professional development. We aim to continue expanding our programs and need dedicated volunteers to accompany us. We are always looking for mentors who are passionate about education and hands-on, minds-on learning. Please inquire about becoming a mentor!

    If you are interested in the Navigator Program for your organization or if you’d like to become a mentor in our educational programs, please contact:

    Chelsea Moore
    BMC Education and Community Outreach Coordinator