How to Choose a Boat Building School

Vocational, trade and technical schools offer hands-on experience and technical instruction in boat building. For an education in the underlying concepts of naval architecture, marine engineering and boat design, students might want to consider a bachelor's or master's degree in naval architecture or marine engineering, offered at select colleges and universities across the U.S. Read on to learn more about school and program options in boat building.

Boat Building School Selection

Boat building schools provide students with the knowledge they need to build and repair various types of watercraft. Naval architecture and marine engineering programs, offered at the bachelor's and master's levels, go into greater depth in their education about marine craft than do programs at the diploma level.

Additional considerations when deciding upon a boat building school:

  • Schools and colleges that offer internships, capstone design projects, faculty-guided research opportunities and work-study programs give students a chance to learn additional skills
  • Students considering a marine engineering program should look for schools accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).
  • Aspiring boat builders may also be directed in choosing a program by the size and type of craft they want to build.

Boat Building Program Overviews

Diploma in Boat Design

Boat design programs are founded on small craft naval architecture and marine engineering. Introductory courses typically cover basic mathematics, marine drafting, stability and often a design practicum. Higher-level courses might cover wood and fiberglass boat construction, electrical systems and marine engines. Students often tool, construct and outfit one or more vessels over the course of the program. Additional coursework might covers topics such as:

  • Interior, exterior and multi-hull design
  • Hull forms
  • Deck geometry
  • Propulsion systems

Bachelor's Degree Programs in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering

Bachelor of Science in Engineering (BSE) and Bachelor of Engineering (BE) programs are founded on physical science and mathematics. Students study topics such as fluid mechanics, hull geometry and computer-aided ship design. Marine engineering students can concentrate on specialties such as sailing yachts, ship production or high-speed craft. Additional course topics might include:

  • Propulsion
  • Resistance
  • Materials processing
  • Principles of naval architecture

Master's Degree Programs in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering

Graduates of master's degree programs in naval architecture and marine engineering (NAME) are prepared to design all types of waterborne vehicles, including submarines, and their subsystems. Relatively few schools in the United States offer advanced degree programs in this area. Programs are offered as Master of Engineering, Master of Science or Master of Science in Engineering degrees. In order to apply for a Master of Engineering, students need a BSE. Core courses in graduate programs often include:

  • Marine design
  • Ship dynamics
  • Form calculations and stability
  • Hull strength
  • Power systems

Ten Schools with Boat Building Programs

College/University Institution Type
University of New Orleans public, 4 year and above
Texas A&M University-College Station public, 4 year and above
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University public, 4 year and above
SUNY Maritime College public, 4 year and above
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor public, 4 year and above
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College public, 2 year
United States Naval Academy public, 4 year
University of Alaska-Anchorage public, 4 year and above
Massachusetts Maritime Academy public, 4 year and above
Webb Institute private, not-for-profit, 4 year

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