“Connecting Erie’s youth to Erie’s waterfront.”

That’s the mission of the Bayfront Maritime Center, and this week, it gets some help from Loving Giving Local to finish one of the organization’s biggest projects ever.

For 25 years the Bayfront Maritime Center at 40 Holland St. in Erie has been providing hands-on maritime-themed educational, vocational and recreational opportunities for young people.

“Our mission is to give disadvantaged youth in the Erie area access to the water and the bayfront,” said Leigh Anne Kraemer-Naser of Bayfront Maritime Center.

Although washed ashore a couple of years by the pandemic, the center is sailing once again and looking to complete the construction of the “Porcupine” — an 1812 gunboat schooner.

“When you see a ship like this, when you see it come together, this is being built by our youth –this isn’t a bunch of professional carpenters creating a War of 1812 vessel. This is something that’s hands-on. It’s community work,” said Kraemer-Naser.

This week’s Loving Giving Local donation will help finish the “Porcupine.” If all goes as planned, they will get it into the water maybe as early as this summer.

“To come here today and learn our donation is going to help with the finishing touches for the ‘Porcupine’ schooner, which will be used to help introduce underprivileged kids to our Great Lakes, and to go out and ride it, that’s what Loving Giving Local is all about,” said Joe Askins, sponsor, Auto Express Superstore. “This is a community event. The ‘Porcupine’ is a beautiful ship and we’re happy to be a part of it.”

Now that the Bayfront Maritime Center is back on course, the Ales to Sails annual fundraiser is set for Friday, Feb. 3. Tickets are available now.

Also, look out in 2023 to mark the return of the center’s popular Cardboard Boat Regatta.