Comprehensive Career Boat Building

Three 15 Week Semesters
12 Month Period
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Program Objective

The Comprehensive Career Boat Building Program (CCBB) prepares individuals for employment in wooden boat building, restoration, and service settings. Graduates develop well-rounded and adaptable knowledge and skills required in the wooden boat industry. They find employment with boat and yacht manufacturers and maintenance facilities, as well as in high-end woodworking shops.


Program Description

The Comprehensive Career Boat Building program requires 44 semester credits of coursework, including instruction in the classroom and in the shop, hands-on application in supervised lab time in the shop, and team and individual projects in the shop. The program is completed in three 15-week semesters in a 12-month period. Students complete a total of 1432 clock hours in instructional settings and outside preparation for instruction and projects over the course of the program. At the completion of the program, students will receive a diploma. The typical number of students in classroom or laboratory/shop settings of instruction is 12.

A Career in Marine Carpentry

Also known as boat-wrights, boat carpenters build and repair boats according to blueprints and client specifications. Boat carpenter job responsibilities include construction of boat parts and frames, structural assembly and repairs, the finishing of boat surfaces, and inspections of finished crafts.

Typical work environments may include:

  • Boat dealerships
  • Independent repair shops
  • Marinas
  • Boatyards
  • Docks
  • Yacht centers
  • Cruise lines
  • U.S. Navy and Marine Corps


Semester 1

Introduction to Boat Building

In the first semester, students learn the fundamental concepts of hull shapes and the structure required to bring those shapes to life. Focus is on building skill in the layout, woodworking, and fastening procedures required to shape and hold parts together properly. Methods of construction covered are traditional lapstrake, and carvel, before moving into wood and epoxy composite boats utilizing the lamination capabilities of epoxy and the reinforcing characteristics of fiberglass.

Credit hours: 16
Course completion: 15 Weeks

Great Lakes Boat Building School

Semester 2

Wood Composite

This course addresses modern wooden boat building techniques utilizing epoxy and reinforcing fabric to make wood composite structures and hulls. Emphasis includes lamination, working with epoxies, and construction of wood/epoxy composite boats. In addition, students will use existing CAD drawings and prints as they might find in a modern shop to build a boat using plywood, veneers, reinforcing fabrics, and vacuum bagging.

Credit hours: 14
Course completion: 15 Weeks

Great Lakes Boat Building School

Semester 3


Restoration builds on the skills gained in the Introduction to Boat Building to correctly approach a restoration or repair to a wooden boat. Students will learn the process of researching the historical data of a boats’ past to find clues as to its original form and fitting, and then applying those clues to the reconstruction of a classic boat. Hull survey, replacing the structure, re-planking, decking, mechanical and interior are all covered. Students will learn finishing techniques for both old and new boats using paint, varnish, and stain, as well as detailing and maintenance techniques to get the most out of a finish.

Credit hours: 14
Course completion: 15 Weeks

Great Lakes Boat Building School