Start your Boat building future today.

With NWSWB, a career in boat building is at your fingertips.

Do you want a hands-on career where you can solve problems in the real world? The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding can get you into the workforce quickly.

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Boat Building Program

The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding’s AOS Boat Building program offers:

  • A compact twelve month intense training program to get you into the workforce quickly.
  • Hands-on training following industry standards and techniques.
  • Effective and efficient boat building and woodworking techniques through a combination of hand and power tools.
  • A wide range of projects that create an environment for students to learn aside the instructor through 8′ to 30′ boat projects, both carvel and lapstrake, power, sail, and row.
  • The opportunity to start from your own foundation – no prerequisites other than a high school diploma or GED. The program accommodates all skill levels and backgrounds.

What do graduates have to say?

Working in the trades always appealed to Ginny. With stints in welding, commercial fishing, and boat maintenance, she still longed to become a woodworker. “Happiness comes from solving problems,” says Ginny, and boat building is problem solving. Ginny is now working at the Port Townsend Shipwright’s Coop helping to restore the historic WESTERN FLYER.

The amount of confidence I built was transformational.

The Perfect Location

The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding is located in the heart of more than 100 maritime businesses on Port Townsend Bay and surrounded by the stunning natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Students have access to the Port Townsend working waterfront providing networking with talented and experienced marine craftspeople.

Our graudates

Justin Victotoria

Class of 2017 - Skoolie Homes

After graduation, Justin began working as a boatbuilder at First Light Boatworks, a yard established in the 1930s to build, restore, and service wooden boats. “Being around super talented beings every day is the most rewarding feeling I’ve ever had,” says Justin. “I could never have experienced this without the support and knowledge the staff at NWSWB passed on to us.” From his first boat building job, Justin spent a year working at Wooden Boatworks in Greenport, NY. Now he’s expanding his skills at Skoolie, a leader in bus home conversions  in Hendersonville, North Carolina.

Zachary Haroth

Class of 2018 - Cheseapeake Bay Maritime Museum

Zachary credits his father with teaching him an early appreciation for surfing, boats, and building things – from tree forts to skateboards. After college, Zachary spent two years in Montana Conservation Corps in some of the wildest places int he lower 48. “Boat School taught me patience, helped me build my technical wood working skills, and brought my confidence to an all-time high,” says Zachary. It also alerted him to a job opening for a Shipwright Apprentice at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, where he as worked since 2017.

Julia Hechanova

Class of 2016 - Dolphin Club Boat Shop

Julia practically grew up at the Dolphin Swimming and Rowing Club in San Francisco, where her parents introduced her to traditional wooden boats like BAGGIANI, a 1948 Whitehall that became the model for a Whitehall the club commissioned from the school. After graduation, Julia returned to California to work as a boat builder in the Dolphin Club Boat Shop, helping restore and maintain the historic boats in the livery.

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Frequently asked questions

How long is the program ?

The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding’s Wooden Boat Building program is 12-months long. The program starts once a year in October. School days are from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Students are awarded an Associates of Occupational Studies (AOS) degree upon program completion.

Can I get financial aid?

The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding’s Wooden Boat Building programs are approved for Federal Student Aid including Direct Student Loans and Pell Grants and for Veterans GI Bill® Education Benefits for those that qualify.

Do I need prerequisites ?

Enrollment in the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding’s Wooden Boat Building program does not require prior experience or prerequisites. Students must have a high school diploma or GED equivalency prior to the first day of class.

What does a Boat Building career path look like?

Careers are varied and may include positions as a shipwright, boat builder, marine carpenter, furniture maker, boat building educator, home constructor, finish carpenter, and composite spar builder.