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

For School / Career Counselors

Great Lakes Boat Building School is here to teach and inspire our students in the art and craft of contemporary boat building – preparing them for productive and rewarding careers in the marine trades.

If you are working with an individual who learns best by doing, our hands on curriculum could provide them with a valuable skillset that they can utilize for the rest of their lives.


  • GARTSIDE SLOOPEstablished in 2006 as a nonprofit, private educational institution
  • Licensed Michigan Proprietary School
  • Students have come from 34 states, 3 Canadian provinces, Europe, and the Caribbean
  • 12,000 square foot water front facility located in Cedarville of Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula
  • Veteran, Needs, and Merit-based financial aid and scholarships available


Our full-time, twelve-month program is designed to provide a comprehensive course of study in the methods, materials, and professionalism required of today’s wooden boat builder. Integrating lectures, demonstrations, and individual projects, the programs focus on the right balance of theoretical and practical knowledge for career success.

There are four modules in the program.  The program prepares the student for a career in the wooden boat building industry.


Who is the typical Great Lakes Boat Building School student?

GLBBS students are as diverse as the boats that they build.  They are traditional students, fresh off of high school graduation.  They are Veterans of the U.S. Military. Others are career changers who have been professionals in something other than building boats.

So…there is no “typical” GLBBS student – just individuals with a love for boats and a passion for working with their hands.  All of our students are propelled by an interest in becoming skilled craftsmen and craftswomen.


A typical day at GLBBS begins at 8:00a with 60 to 75 minutes of in-class lecture.  Students spend the remainder of their day (aside from an hour long lunch and two 15 minute breaks) on the projects assigned to them in the mill, workshop, finishing room, or loft.

During the course of the school day students may sort, inventory, and mill lumber, draft, loft, sand, cut, assemble, shape, paint, and varnish their boat projects, just as they would in a commercial boat building shop.  Students are expected to maintain not only their own tools but the tools in the mill as well.  At the conclusion of each day (approximately 4:30pm), students are responsible for cleaning and prepping their workspace for the following day.

After the work day, students are offered many social and educational opportunities and the chance to work on their own side projects.  Students have 24/7 school & workspace access.


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