Clearwater’s ‘Float the Boat’ Campaign to Fund Sloop Overhaul

21st Century-Style Passing the Hat: Check out the Video! #FloatTheBoat

BEACON, NY – Nearly 50 years ago, Pete Seeger and a group of friends came up with an impossible dream: Build a magnificent wooden boat to save the polluted Hudson River. There was little funding for such an out-of-the-box idea, but nevertheless, it succeeded. By hosting a series of concerts, passing the hat and appealing to local philanthropists, the sloop Clearwater was born.

Float graphicToday – 500,000 passengers, and decades of environmental education and advocacy later – the hat is being passed once again, both literally (when Clearwater members gather) and in more 21st Century-fashion:  Look for the #FloatThe Boat hashtag online, visit, and check out the video contributed by a Clearwater millennial who says he grew up crewing on the sloop!

The Clearwater made her last public sail of the season, from the dock at Rhinecliff, on Sunday, October 4. Later this month, she will be hauled out of the water at the Kingston Home Port to undergo the most extensive, complicated – and expensive – restoration project in her storied history.  The $850,000 overhaul involves replacement of the entire center portion of the ship’s hull.

A New York State grant has been secured to fund roughly half the cost of the project, but Clearwater is now in the position of needing to raise about $250,000 relatively quickly, to assure the job gets done in timely fashion. Wood is even now being delivered that will be fashioned by shipbuilders into new planks for the hull. A barge has been hired to bring the 106-foot-long boat downriver from her haul-out point in Albany to the shipbuilders in Kingston.

This week, the campaign to make sure the iconic boat is afloat again by spring has begun in earnest. Watch for continuing news, posts and video – and make a direct contribution – by visiting


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