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  #1  
Old 11-10-2009
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looking for shipwright training advice

Good day,

I'm a 20 something and im looking to start a career as a shipwright. I live in Vancouver BC and need some advice on which way I should proceed.

My ultimate goal is learn everything: boat building from 12' - 100 feet, sail making, inboard outboard mechanics, electronics, plumbing, refrigeration...

What I would like to know is wood boat building a fundamental when it comes to all boat building? Do you need to know how to understand wood boat building before you can help construct fiberglass boats?

I have found 2 schools that teach wooden boat building. SBSS on Gabriola island BC and the Northwest school of wooden boat building in Port Hadlock WA.

What are peoples impressions (if any) of these particular institutes?
Can anyone point out any other schools in the pacific northwest/cali?
What are the most reputable shipwright schools in the world?

Thanks in advance, I look forward to your reply...
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Old 11-10-2009
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Understanding wooden boat building is essential to becoming a shipwright since fiberglass boatbuilders are not shipwrights. As far as schools are concerned, they have produced more graduates than there are professional shipwrights here in the States. If you really want to learn the trade, I would suggest becoming a volunteer with an organization involved in the restoration of an old wooden boat or starting at the bottom with boatshop that specializes in wooden boat construction. The last wooden boat I built had 6-8 shipwrights and 3-4 times as many apprentices. [volunteers and paid] Several of the volunteers ended up with paid jobs where school grads were passed up.The profession is saturated with school taught people with little real experience and competition for the few jobs out there is fierce. I think you would do better to just get out there and do it. A willingness to do what it takes on the jobsite, a willlingness to learn,and realizing that you cannot talk and listen at the same time will take you further than a piece of paper. Good luck, I've been at it since '82 when I started out by painting bottoms.
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Old 11-10-2009
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Try to get an apprenticeship at a yard that builds in wood.
Gannon & Benjamin, Van Dam Custom Boats, etc.
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Old 11-10-2009
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Jumping right into it will probably be better than going to school(although it wouldn't hurt) but you will have to work your way up. A lot of people start with a job like a painter or apprentice and work their way into the construction side. You need to be at a yard that specializes in wood if that is the way you want to proceed. There are a couple of places around the country that would be good places to start like Port Townsend, Vineyard Haven, midcoast Maine, etc.
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Old 11-10-2009
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One of the members here knows the people at Gannon & Benjamin fairly well...
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Old 11-10-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Punter View Post
..... I have found 2 schools that teach wooden boat building. SBSS on Gabriola island BC ...
I've stopped by at this school in Silva Bay a few times, it's a very small scale operation but has a pretty good reputation locally. As far as I know they have not built anything particularly large yet - mostly small rowing and sailing craft to say 20 feet - but what they produce looks very nice indeed.

If you're in Vancouver it's a nice day trip to check them out (though it is 4 ferries unless you fly Tofino Air - which is probably more cost effective and drops you 100 yards from the school)
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Old 11-10-2009
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There are many schools that teach boat building... BUT! it's finding employment that is most difficult! All my life I wished I was in the trade but wound up in the HVAC biz. many boat builders of course have managed to actually sell their designs and plans to DIYers. I'm close to retirement, so it's not likely I'll ever find a niche for me.. May the employment gods guide and lead you Punter. You may find, (this a downside) that really successful boat building operations hire unskilled labor and farm out (use sub contractors) for the high tech work. good luck!
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Two other options on the East Coast: International Yacht Restoration School in Newport, RI, and the Landing Boat School in Arundel (or Kennebunk) Maine. Both seem to be developing marine systems courses that provide more than just woodbutchering backgrounds for their students.
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Both are excellent choices, and the scenery is unbeatable...as is the sailing...
Quote:
Originally Posted by paulk View Post
Two other options on the East Coast: International Yacht Restoration School in Newport, RI, and the Landing Boat School in Arundel (or Kennebunk) Maine. Both seem to be developing marine systems courses that provide more than just woodbutchering backgrounds for their students.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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