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How to Choose a Boat Building School

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.

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Skills necessary to build boats can be used in a number of different environments. Vocational, trade and technical schools offer hands-on experience and technical instruction in boat building.

Ten Schools with Boat Building Programs

While several schools offer programs in boat building, below are some of the most reputable that have undergraduate and graduate programs in naval architecture or marine engineering.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered In-State Tuition (2015-2016)
University of New Orleans New Orleans, LA Public, 4 year and above Bachelor's $8,004
Texas A&M University-College Station College Station, TX Public, 4 year and above Bachelor's $10,176
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Blacksburg, VA Public, 4 year and above Master's, Post-Graduate Certificate $12,127
SUNY Maritime College Throggs Neck, NY Public, 4 year and above Bachelor's $7,809
University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Ann Arbor, MI Public, 4 year and above Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral $13,856 undergraduate; $20,638 (graduate)
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Green Bay, WI Public, 2 year Associate $4,280
United States Naval Academy Annapolis, MD Public, 4 year Bachelor's N/A; N/A
University of Alaska-Anchorage Anchorage, AK Public, 4 year and above Post-Graduate Certificate $9,306
Massachusetts Maritime Academy Buzzard's Bay, MA Public, 4 year and above Bachelor's $7,630
Webb Institute Glenn Cove, NY Private, not-for-profit, 4 year Bachelor's $46,000

Source: NCES College Navigator

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School Selection Criteria

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. Considerations when deciding upon a boat building school include:

  • 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.

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.

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.

When deciding on programs for boat building, potential students must consider location, time availability, and career goals. The chosen program will influence work environment based on its course offerings.

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