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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.

Summary of Important Considerations

  • Opportunities for practical experience
  • School affiliation and accreditation
  • Career goals

Opportunities for Practical Experience

Technical and vocational 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 and meet experienced instructors and professionals in the industry.

School Affiliation and Accreditation

Aspiring boat building students may want to look for schools associated with organizations such as the American Boat and Yacht Council, the American Boatbuilders Association, the Association of Marine Technicians, the Marine Design Resource Alliance and the National Marine Manufacturers Association. Students considering a marine engineering program should look for schools accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

Career Goals

Aspiring boat builders may also be directed in choosing a program by the size and type of craft they want to build. Some students will want to work in entry-level positions such as boat and motor rigger, apprentice mechanic, entry-level technician and parts associate after graduating, while others will want extensive training to go immediately to work as self-employed boat builders or for manufacturering design firms.

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

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