Working Harbor Committee Hidden Harbor Tours®

The primary activity of the Working Harbor Committee (WHC), a not-for-profit organization, is the sponsorship of two hour narrated boat tours of New York and New Jersey’s working waterfront. We take people to places that are normally hidden from the eyes of most area residents and visitors. We call them Hidden Harbor Tours®. Since the Working Harbor Committee was founded in 2002, we have taken well over 28,000 individuals out on the water to educate them about the importance of the maritime industry and why it is critical to the economic health and quality of life in the New York and New Jersey area.

Our tours are narrated by people who know the harbor intimately including representatives from NY/NJ port terminals; tugboat companies; and maritime historians. Places in our harbor we visit include Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine terminal, tugboat berths in Erie Basin and Kill Van Kull, container, breakbulk, oil and car ports in Brooklyn and New Jersey. The world of working maritime vessels and facilities is both fascinating as well as vitally important to the area’s economic prosperity. Do you want to know where your Toyota came in? How the ingredients for your chocolate bar got here? How your trash is removed? Welcome to NY Harbor’s working waterfront.
WHC High School Maritime Educational Program
The WHC works with at-risk high school students in NYC to introduce this population to the past, present and future of our harbors, with an emphasis on job opportunities afforded in this great industry. In addition to visiting students in the classroom, we arrange dedicated boat tours of NY Harbor where we invite maritime industry leaders to join us in educating our youth on careers in the maritime industry and the educational requirements needed to achieve these jobs.
Students receive copies of our 52-page informational booklet, Maritime Occupations: A Guide, which describes the type of jobs in the maritime industry as well as the educational requirements needed to achieve these jobs.
WHC Annual Tugboat Race and Competition in NY Harbor
WHC coordinates the annual Great North River Tugboat Race and Competition on Labor Day weekend in NYC where tugboats race down the North River as they vie to be named the fastest boat in their class. The race is followed by a line tossing competition, a tattoo contest and a spinach eating contest. This year will be the 24th anniversary of the event.
Over 15 tug boats typically participate in the event that draws thousands of spectators, which is one of the reasons the tug companies enjoy participating. “New Yorkers sometimes forget they are surrounded by water and that there is a whole maritime industry working here. This tug competition is the one time a year people can really see what we do,” explained Craig Rising of McAllister Towing and Transportation, one of the largest and oldest tug companies in the country.

WHC Winter Program

The WHC coordinates a yearly indoor event to educate the public on a topic of interest in the maritime industry. The evening begins with a documentary film on the subject followed by a panel of experts that share their special knowledge on the issue being discussed. Past programs have included “All About Tugs”, “Getting It Up! The Fascinating World of Marine Salvage” and “Women in Maritime.”


Container ship and tug

Working Harbor Committee
A New York State Not for Profit Organization

EIN #: 20-3396037

NYCharities registration #: 40-55-88

Peter Stanford
WHC Founder & Inspiration

Peter Stanford passed away on Thursday morning, March 24, 2016.

“…Peter Stanford spent his life founding things,
it seems – South Street Seaport Museum,
National Maritime Historical Society, and – highlight in our own lives – the Working Harbor Committee among them

“His heart was gladdened at the WHC’s developing strengths in its educational programs, its tours for underserved youth who discover the harbor and learn about maritime careers in the industry. He was passionate about our mission of teaching NY/NJ harbor history and life today and thus enhancing the harbor’s future, and impressed by WHC’s willingness to work hard to achieve that mission….”

To read full article by Terry Walton, click here

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455 West 43rd St. New York, NY 10036

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