About North River Historic Ship Society
You can ride a century-old tugboat, get wet aboard a New York City fireboat and explore a once-sunken lightship, thanks in part to the work of the North River Historic Ship Society (NRHSS).
Since 1994, this small state-chartered, not-for-profit organization has championed the vintage ships and workboats that tell the important story of New York’s maritime heritage. These vessels, some of which are more than a century old, keep that history alive by offering public trips and dockside tours that illustrate our harbor’s colorful past and its present-day vitality. The ships we work with are all eligible or listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
What We Do
We support and encourage the restoration of historic ships, and we work to secure free or low-cost dock space so that these vessels have a way to bring the public aboard. We raise funds so that historic ships can afford to offer free public programs. And we sponsor programs of our own.
Why It Matters
New York became the great city it is because its harbor became the center of commerce two centuries ago. The port continues to be the lifeblood of the city. These old boats help tell that story.
Our Board of Directors is made up of preservationists involved in maritime restoration projects in New York City. Many own or are involved with individual historic vessels and educational programs in New York Harbor.
Collectively, we advocate for the presence of historic ships at neighborhood piers along our water highways. Current sites include docking facilities in Hudson River Park and Red Hook, Brooklyn. We hope to expand our reach to include such locations as Brooklyn Bridge Park, the New Stapleton Waterfront, Governors Island and many others.
NRHSS's activities include coordinating with the US Coast Guard regarding vessel certifications, producing maritime happenings, and assisting other like-minded organizations.
Mary Habstritt, President