28′ Beetle Whaleboat

The Beetle Shop has once again been called upon to build a Beetle whaleboat! The whaleboat is being built for the New Bedford Whaling Museum, historically significant in that New Bedford was well known as the Whaling Capital of the World and where Beetle whaleboats were originally built. It will be one of seven whaleboats displayed on the Charles W. Morgan whaleship, currently undergoing a major restoration at Mystic Seaport when she embarks in 2014 on her tour of historical ports.

The Beetle family was famous for its building of Whaleboats in the mid to late 1800’s. It all started with James Beetle who built over 1,000 whaleboats between 1834 and 1854 in New Bedford, many of which ended up on the Charles W. Morgan. His sons Charles and John followed in their fathers footsteps and built whaleboats at the Beetle Shop on Rodney French Boulevard. It was at this shop that John and his son Carl designed and built the first Beetle Cat in 1921, using the same materials as was used in constructing the Whaleboats (atlantic white cedar and white oak).

Charles Beetle built his last whaleboat in 1933 for the Mariner’s Museum in Newport News, VA. It is this boat that the Beetle Shop will once again be building, with the lines and construction plans being provided by Mystic Seaport. A truly historical project!


  • Length: 28′ 5-3/4″
  • Beam: 6′ 5″
  • Approx. Weight: 1,200 lbs.