Philadelphia Ship Preservation Guild maintains and sails historic ships to bring the past to the present. We are a non-profit organization that teaches and practices seamanship, traditional restoration, maritime culture, and sailing skills in a fun and team focused setting.

The guild is managed by a 13-member board of directors.


The Ship Guild was incorporated in 1985 as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization. This was formed by the earlier Philadelphia Heritage Society members. It is dedicated to maintaining maritime vessels and operating the same in the safest possible manner.

Gazela was the first ship under the care of the Ship Guild. She was acquired from the City of Philadelphia in 1985 for the princely sum of $1. The Barnegat lightship was donated, as was the tug Jupiter and a lighter barge. The Jupiter and barge were the property of the Independent Pier Company, owned by the Meyle family. The Jupiter still bears the livery of that company.

In 1993, the Barnegat was sold to Pyne Point Marina where it remains beached. In 1999, Jupiter was sold to Penn’s Landing, keeping it in Philadelphia. Gazela and the barge Poplar remain the Guild’s only collection.


You can help by joining our active crew or as a supporting member. We rely on the time, effort and financial support of our members to keep our vessels seaworthy and operating. Whether you are sharing skills or learning new ones, you will find a niche in this diverse organization.

Visit our sign-up page to join the Guild. If you would like more information, contact the Volunteer Coordinator at or contact our office.