Build your own kayak, paddle at CBMM The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is hosting a nine-day workshop to teach the basics of building a skin-on-frame kayak and Greenland paddle from Saturday, September 24, to Sunday, October 2, with all participants taking home the kayak and paddle they built with the help of skilled craftspeople. Participants will work under the direction of Kiliii Yuyan of Seawolf Kayaks, with the final day of the workshop including a group paddle along the Miles River.

Seawolf Kayak“At just 28 pounds, these kayaks are extremely lightweight and durable,” said CBMM Boatyard Program Manager Jenn Kuhn. “The framing will be locally sourced Atlantic white cedar, with the skin a covering of ballistic nylon, originally used for military flak vests. The skins are coated in a special two-part polyurethane that is highly abrasion- and UV-resistant.”

Noted to reduce stress on hands, elbows, and shoulders without sacrificing control and power, the Greenland paddle is remarkable for its narrower and longer blade. Based on a thousand-year-old Inuit design, the paddle measures about the width of the kayaker’s shoulders, with a blade that is less than four inches wide that tapers to a shaft or “loom.”

Kiliii Yuyan is an indigenous (Nanai) photographer, adventurer & boatbuilder with a passion for all things wild. Building on the knowledge and skills taught to him by both Native and revivalist builders, Kiliii designs skin-on-frame kayaks for the modern paddler. He shares the art of skin-on-frame in workshops across the globe.

“Whether you’re an expert craftsman or a beginner,” commented Yuyan, “everyone leaves our workshops with a beautiful, durable boat and advanced woodworking techniques.”

Seattle-based Seawolf Kayak teaches skin-on-frame building courses throughout the world—from Addy, Wa. to Helsinki, Finland—with this being the first time the course is offered in St. Michaels, Md.

The program takes place in CBMM’s boatshop along St. Michaels’ harbor from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day and is $1,600 for each participant, which includes all instruction and materials needed for the skin-on-frame kayak and Greenland paddle each builder will take home. Participation is limited, with advanced registration at For more information, visit or