Summer Workshop FAQ

Thank you for your interest in a Summer Workshop at Great Lakes Boat Building School. We want to make your time here fun and a great learning experience. Below are the most common questions we are asked.

How old do you have to be to build a boat on your own?

Students must be 16 years of age or older to attend a BYOB workshop on their own. To be a helper, the minimum age is 10 years old, when attending with an adult.

What information can you tell me about the boat I want to build?

For the best detailed information about your boat click here and look up your specific boat’s information.  Our partner, Chesapeake Light Craft, has a section on each individual kit. 

For GLBBS questions, please call 906-484-1081 to speak with Brianna.

What are the costs for my workshop at GLBBS?

For BYOB, at the time of registration, you are expected to make payment in full. Your payment includes: Tuition, Boat Kit Materials (CLC), Shipping, Helper Fees/Add-ons (if applicable) and 6% Sales tax (based on the kit cost).

For Artisan classes: Tuition and Materials.


YES!  Whether you are building a kayak, paddleboard, or a larger boat, results are typically the same: all major assembly, including fiberglass work, should be completed by the time you pack up on Saturday morning. We go as fast as we can during the week while maintaining a high-quality of workmanship.

You will NOT have a finished, painted/varnished boat at the end of your week at GLBBS. We are not in the business of telling you what color your new kayak should be…if you want it to be pink with purple zebra stripes, that is your prerogative. Our instructors WILL walk you through applying any final coats of epoxy, sanding, and paint/varnish application to be done at home.

Plan on any sail kits, add-ons, or upgrades purchased with the boat needing to installed at home as there is typically not enough time to complete these added components during the week. Our instructors are available to walk you through add-on/upgrade installation.

I would like to purchase a sloop or lug sail kit, or take apart items from CLC, can GLBBS include additional items in my order?

In an effort to make ordering kits a seamless for workshop participants, GLBBS and CLC work together to ensure kits are ordered and delivered in a timely fashion to GLBBS.  Add-ons and kit upgrades can be ordered at the time of registration to be delivered to GLBBS. The shipping charge for the kit will cover delivery expenses for the add-ons.

All other items must be delivered directly to the participant, not to GLBBS. 

If I have ordered a sailing kit, will I get to assemble it during the week I’m at GLBBS?

Don’t count on it. Participants generally only have time to complete the boat kit during the 5 days. The instructors will provide insight on key things that will help you install add-ons/upgrades once you get your boat home.

Where should I reserve a place to stay?

The two towns of Cedarville and Hessel combined with 36 islands make up the beautiful Les Cheneaux Islands area. There are many places to stay for a variety of prices. Click here for a list of great places to stay.  Please note that these locations may have different rates that they offer just because you are coming for a workshop at the Boat School – make sure you mention it.

For a full list of accommodations (and businesses) in the Les Cheneaux area please visit

What should I plan for lunch?

There are eateries nearby or you can bring a box lunch to enjoy on our lakeside picnic tables. The school offers a full kitchen for student use and a refrigerator to store items for lunch.

What tools should I bring?

Please note that shopping is limited in Cedarville and the surrounding area so it is to your benefit to do have the required supplies well ahead of time. If you forget something, there is a hardware store and a lumber yard within a few miles of the School.

We will email you a list of required and recommended tools for your specific boat shortly after registration.

CLC also has a list of tools and accessories on their website that you may purchase to complete the kit.


GLBBS provides brushes, mixing containers, mixing sticks, and sandpaper for hand sanding. We will email your specific list of tools required and recommended for your specific boat shortly after registration.


This is the Upper Peninsula, the summer is short, but beautiful. Average highs from June-August are typically in the 70s and occasionally get into the 80s. Our workshop has large doors that we open during warmer days. Dress appropriately.

Bring clothes you are comfortable throwing away, getting dirty, stained, or covered with epoxy. Errant epoxy does not wash out. Closed toed shoes are required while working in the shop.

What is the cancellation policy at GLBBS?

A participant will receive a full refund (aside from $125.00 non-refundable Administrative Fee)
if cancellation is made 60 calendar days prior to the first day of the workshop. A cancellation made after the
60th day, prior to date of workshop, will warrant no refund. Participants may still claim their boat kits which
they purchased, however, additional shipping expenses will be charged if GLBBS has to ship the boat kit to any
other location.

Please note that our classes may fill very early in the year, due to space and time constraints we only allow a certain
number of students to maintain the high standard of our workshops. A cancellation requires GLBBS to attempt to fill a
spot that may then go unfilled on short notice.

What can I expect for the intensity level of the class?

Assembling a boat kit in five days is hard work. You will be tired and you will be dirty.

Classes begin at 9:00 a.m., break for lunch from noon to 1:00 p.m., and end between 5:00 or 6:00 p.m.

However, depending on the type of class, if the participant has not completed the scheduled assembly for the day, a longer day may be required. Occasionally, again depending on the class, a participant may put in 10-12 hours in a day to make sure they are on schedule with the kit for the next day or for departure on the last day. Generally expect longer days for hull assembly.


What can I expect on Saturday?

Saturday is a half day, 9:00 a.m. to noon. Assembly and epoxy work should be completed by Friday evening. The morning will entail final details, cleaning the workshop area and preparing your boat for transportation.

How many people are required for each kit?

Unless specified, each kit requires one participant. However, the Northeaster Dory and the Annapolis Wherry are large kits and a helper is required.

We strongly encourage you to bring a helper. Not only does it make the construction process easier, these classes are great bonding experiences. We’ve had many parent/child, grandparent/grandchildren, husband/wife, siblings, engaged couples, and coworker teams join us to build a boat.  

What woodworking skills are needed?

All classes are adapted to first-time boat builders with little or no woodworking experience. It will be challenging, but we won’t let you falter or do crummy work. CLC has made their kits in such a way that the least skilled participant can participate. GLBBS’s instructors are very helpful and know that most participants are not necessarily skilled craftsmen.

How will I get my boat home?

Depending on the kit, smaller boats may be strapped to the top of a vehicle. Larger boats, such as the Northeaster Dory and Annapolis Wherry, require a trailer for transportation.

If you bring a trailer with you, you are welcome to store the trailer on the school property. CLC also offers a variety of trailers to purchase.  To browse CLC’s trailer/transportation offerings click here.

A kayak strap kit and/or roof rack will be very helpful in transportation.

What if I want to stay longer than my workshop schedule to work on my boat?

If you need additional time and space to work on your boat before heading home, GLBBS has the answer.  For $75.00/day, you can continue to work on your boat in one of our workspaces. Please understand that this is shop time. Instructors are not available to help.

If you anticipate needing extra work time please let your instructor know as soon as possible as space is limited.

How can I see what previous classes did at GLBBS in a week?

“Like” us on Facebook @ Great Lakes Boat Building School to follow summer classes. Scroll back to our Summer Workshop photos and see for yourself what previous participants accomplished.

Please note any questions related to the kits should be directed to CLC and questions related to the class should be directed to GLBBS.


What People Say

Thank you so much for doing such a beautiful job on the
Marilyn Jean. Everyone loves her!

Wayne B., Commissioned Boat Client July 14, 2017

What Will You Build Next?