The Boat Building Academy
The Boat Building Academy provides full-time, highly practical skills training with the emphasis on ‘hands-on’ learning.
The school was founded in 1997 by Commander Tim Gedge, who still serves as Director. The Academy is an approved Royal Yachting Association training centre, a member of the British Marine Federation and an approved City & Guilds centre.
The Academy’s flagship internationally recognised 40-week Boat Building course, teaches students to build boats to professional standards across a range of construction types from modern and traditional wood to composites. Some students are offered the opportunity to build their own boats as part of the course.
Students of all ages come from all over the world to join the course, meaning that no two courses are ever the same. As the background of each student differs from each person, there is no specific strict skill requirement to the course: all that is asked for is enthusiasm, motivation and dedication to hard work. The course attracts people from all walks of life, including those wishing to retrain for a new career in the marine industry, to hobbyists looking to make next step towards a lifelong passion, and even men and women wishing to escape life behind a computer screen.
Each student comes away from the Academy with the key skills needed for today’s changing marine industry, everyone on the course is enrolled for the Diploma in Boat Building, Maintenance and Support incorporating City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Marine Construction, Systems Engineering and Maintenance (2463-03). Students can opt out of the qualification if they feel it is not relevant.
The 12-week Fine Woodworking incorporating Furniture Design is entirely separate to the Boat Building course and has its own dedicated workshop. Students learn how to design and make furniture, progressing from sharpening their tools all the way to designing and making a final project piece of their own choosing. In the past, these project pieces have ranged from a wooden bicycle, a ukulele, a tennis racket and a toy chest. Students can take a City & Guilds 6218 Level 1 Certificate in Basic Construction Skills, before deciding whether to undertake the Level 3 qualification or to concentrate on their personal project piece.
The 2 to 5 day Short Courses serve as a perfect introduction to the skills covered in the ‘longer’ courses and beyond. People can try their hand at Traditional Wooden Boat Building, GRP Repairs and Basic Woodworking (offered from levels 1-3) and more. For a full breakdown of short courses available, have a look at the 2019 Short Course Programme on the Academy’s website. There is also more than just boat building and woodworking on offer, the Academy also runs Antique Furniture Restoration, Marquetry as well as the popular sail making and rope work courses.