Great Lakes Boat Building School (GLBBS) continues to monitor and assess the situation regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19). GLBBS’ first and foremost concern revolves around student and staff health. Effective March 16, 2020, in an effort to reduce human interactions and potential spread of the virus, GLBBS will remain closed to the general public until further notice.

Great Lakes Boat Building School

GLBBS Students Visit Northern Michigan Employers

March 22, 2019 – Today, students from Great Lakes Boat Building School (GLBBS) toured through three Northern Michigan business and potential employers.  The students were treated to private tours at Van Dam Custom Boats (Boyne City), Boyne City Boat Yard, and Irish Boat Shop (Harbor Springs).

Students were not only able to see first hand the kind of work that goes on in a subsection of today’s marine industry – they were exposed to three very different work environments and were able to ask questions about ranging from skills needed to business operations to how a student might apply for work.

The visits were highlighted by the founders of each business explaining what it takes to be successful in boating and maritime careers.

According to Steve Van Dam, GLBBS Program Advisory Board President and founder of both Van Dam Custom Boats and Boyne Boat Yard, attitude is key.

“Attitude is huge,” he said. “You’ve gotta love what you’re doing.  We get to do the coolest things in the world.  Y’know, I mean building boats like that and then getting better!  Making customers happy!”

David Irish, founder of Irish Boat Shop echoed the sentiment by simply saying “Enthusiasm!”

GLBBS would like to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to these fantastic businesses for hosting us.

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For more information on becoming a GLBBS student, please contact Admissions Advisor, Chris Ritchie at 906-398-2088 or

For more information on our field trip destinations please click the links below:

Boyne Boat Yard

Irish Boat Shop

Van Dam Custom Boats