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40-Week Boat Building Course


For many this is professional training, and for others a chance to follow a dream for the sheer joy of building boats surrounded by like-minded enthusiasts and our expert tutors.

Our immersive training guides you from the very basics of tool use to the completion of several beautiful and professionally built boats.

In the first half of the course, you will develop dedicated boat building skills and knowledge through the highly structured training programme.  In the second half, your skills are further honed as you build boats from start to finish using both traditional and modern construction: gaining the skills that only hands-on experience will bring.

The highly practical environment enables students to take full advantage of our facilities and expertise of the tutors. The course is full-time, five days per week from 0830 to 1730.  Each course has at least one dedicated tutor, with an aim of a minimum 40 hours of workshop time.

Course Content

The 40-week course incorporates the Level 3 Diploma in Boatbuilding (Advanced) (2473-03). The syllabus goes far beyond the requirements of the City & Guilds qualification, providing comprehensive practical instruction in traditional and contemporary boat building construction methods and composite materials and related skills.

The ‘long’ course commences with a six-week joinery foundation course. Once people have their joinery skills in place the syllabus covers the following skill areas:

  • Lofting
  • Traditional boatbuilding
  • Modern wooden boatbuilding
  • Fibre reinforced plastics
  • Fit out
  • Yacht joinery
  • Spar and oar making
  • Engine beds and stern tubes
  • Painting and finishing
  • Rigging, chandlery, and cordage
  • Sail making and repair
  • Marine systems (Five days at Rob Perry Marine, a marine engineering company ten minutes from the Academy. An RYA ‘Diesel Engine’ certificate and Rob Perry Marine certificate are awarded at the successful conclusion of the week).

Groups move from the upstairs workshop and become the ‘downstairs’ group in the main workshop after five months. It is at this stage that they start building their group boats.

Course dates

There are two start dates per year and we allocate places to students on a first-come-first-served basis on receipt of a completed application form. Both courses have a 2-week break during the course.

19 February to 6 December 2024

  No spaces

2 September 2024 to 27 June 2025

  Spaces available

Course fee

Course starting February 2024 £18,450
Course starting September 2024 £18,450


February 2024 – The total course fee is £18,450

September 2024 – The course fee is £18,450 (book before 31st May 2024 for a £500 discount – £17,950)

Included in the fee are materials for all the foundation training elements, including those used when making your clinker section, toolbox, bollow plane, joints, an 8ft oar, and your City & Guilds assessment pieces, all of these are yours to take home. The only extras you might pay are for any non-training related personal pieces, an additional oar, and (last but not least) a boat should you decide to commission one. We receive good discounts from many of our suppliers and are therefore able to offer a range of materials to students at discounted prices.

Bursary assisted places

Bursary assisted places are available for this course, please click here for further information

How to book

Potential students are asked to visit the Academy and send a simple CV. This process allows you to get a feel for the life and work at the Academy and enables you to make an informed decision.

If you are unable to visit, we will conduct a telephone/zoom interview at a mutually agreed time.

    About this course

    How to Apply?

    This course is suitable for beginners and advanced. There is no upper age limit, and the course is open to young professionals (regardless of age) and school leavers. You don’t need any carpentry skills to apply (the starting point is the same for everyone). We do not consider formal qualifications or tests of any kind to be helpful in assessing a candidate’s ability to successfully complete the course. We look for positive attitude, drive and a clear passion and willingness to pursue the highest standard, as well as a basic knowledge of English and Mathematics (equivalent to Functional Skills Level 1).

    All prospective students are asked to send a short resume and attend the Academy. You will be taken on a workshop tour to see what work is being produced and what boats are being built. You will aso be introduced to staff and students. You will then be interviewed to discuss why you are taking the course, what you hope to gain from it and how you hope to use your newly acquired skills after the course.

    Some students have the opportunity to commission their own boats as part of the course. The boats built by the group, will be decided in arrangement with students, tutors, the training manager and the director. The builds must cover a range of construction methods due to the education value and practical experience of working with as many different boat building techniques as possible.

    The 40-week Boat Building course provides students with the skills to find employment in the marine industry, although some students take the course for a sabbatical or retirement and do not have any plans to work in the industry.

    You don’t have to want to work in the marine industry to study this course, but we teach according to industry standards.

    See what our students have built

    To browse the range of boats built here at the Academy see our Boats Archive. Follow the build of boats that are currently in the workshops on the Current Boats page.

    Meet the team

    Find out more about who joins our courses by taking a look at our Boat Building Students page. The paths students take after the course are as diverse as the students themselves – take a look at our Graduate Case Studies page for details on what a representative sample of our graduates are doing now.