Boat builder
Construction, Mechanical & Electrical Trades

Boat builders construct boats from materials such as wood, steel, glass fibre or new composite materials. They can make power boats, yachts, dinghies and narrow boats. They also carry out boat repairs and refits.

Work Activities

Boat builders construct small commercial craft and leisure boats, such as power boats and dinghies.

Boat builders working in a boat yard build traditional wooden craft. They use their carpentry and joinery skills to cut, shape and put together the boat building materials. They can also repair and maintain small boats.

Some boat builders also fit out new boats, they put in furniture and install lighting and plumbing. Carpentry, electrical, plumbing and painting skills may be required.

Some boat builders specialise in traditional maritime craft skills like rigging and sail making.

Most modern boats are made in a factory environment. Technicians are involved in the manufacture of vessels which are designed by professional engineers.

Personal Qualities and Skills

Key skills for boat builders

Good practical skills

Be physically fit

Maths skills to calculate angles and take measurements

Be able to work accurately and pay close attention to detail.

Pay And Opportunities

Typical employers of boat builders

Small to medium-sized companies, based in boat yards around coastal areas.

Boat builders can find work with companies that build and repair large boats, ships and other vessels such as oil rigs. Ship yards are situated in the north of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Manufacturers of marine equipment such as sails, engines and boat fittings.


Qualifications and training required

City & Guilds offer the Certificate in Boatbuilding, and also the level 2 and Level 3 Diploma in Marine Construction, Systems Engineering and Maintenance, where you learn and practise the skills required for a career in building, fitting out and maintaining of boats.

Some boatbuilding companies offer apprenticeships.

Some people move into this profession after training in a related area, such as welding, carpentry, joinery or plumbing.

The boat building academy in Dorset has boatbuilding courses.

Degree courses are available in Marine Technology, Marine Engineering, Ship Science and Naval Architecture.

For Scottish applicants apprenticeships are likely to require either National 4s or 5. Subjects such as English, Maths, Physics/technological subject/Science are likely to be required. Degree courses usually require a minimum of 4 Highers including Maths and Physics/engineering science.

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