Falmouth Marine School has been delivering training to the boatbuilding, ship repair and shipbuilding industry since 1920, and has run full-time boatbuilding courses since the early 1970s. We have dedicated wood and composite workshops in the heart of Falmouth’s extensive maritime industrial area at Ponsharden Boatyard.
We offer two options for you to gain a career in the boatbuilding industry depending on your GCSE results. Our Level 3 course leads to employment on successful completion of your course. Our Level 2 course is ideal should your GCSEs not be what you expected with the option to progress to Level 3.
This is the only place in Cornwall where you will gain specialist training with access to dedicated workshops. Whether your dreams lie in boat building or repairing, becoming part of a professional crew, or a marine surveyor these courses will get you on the right pathway.
While using the latest technical processes you will be taught in our dedicated woodworking workshops and in our specialist fibre reinforced plastics workshop. Our specialist industry experienced lecturers believe the best way to learn boat building techniques is to undertake real hands-on jobs, on live boat projects. The majority of our boat building programmes and assessments are carried out in a practical way.
Live projects are an integral part of the course, students have built a prototype for a new generation of sailboat, Cornish racing Skiff’s and Pilot Gig’s, worked on the creation of a replica Viking boat for an exhibition at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall and built a Viking Prow, for a centre piece at Chelsea garden Show.
What is a Boatbuilder?
Boatbuilder’s build boats such as yachts, workboats and superyachts and/or refit and repair existing boats. Boats may be made of composites, metals or wood so a Boatbuilder must be able to work with and understand the capabilities of a variety of materials. They can read and interpret engineering and technical drawings to produce moulds, jigs, plugs and templates to create complex shapes using a variety of measuring equipment, machines and hand tools.
They manufacture and assemble components that form the structure of a boat as well as the interior and exterior fit out. They will be expected to work both individually and as part of a team. They understand and comply with organisational and statutory safety including sustainability requirements and can work with minimum supervision. They are responsible for the quality and accuracy of their work and are good communicators and problem solvers.
Boatbuilder’s typically work with associated trades such as Marine Engineers and have a strong understanding of the marine industry. Upon successful completion of their training,
the individual will be multi-skilled and thus capable of adapting to changing demands as boats become more complex; and new materials and methods are introduced.
As part of your course you will be required to carry out Work Experience and/or an Industry Placement. For more details please click here.
Share this course with someone you know...
This one-year course is ideal if you have a passion for the construction, repair and restoration of wooden and fibre-reinforced plastic boats and want to work in the boatbuilding industry.
Four GCSEs at grade 4, including English and maths, or a relevant Level 2 qualification.
This highly practical course will develop the skills necessary to start a successful career in boatbuilding. You will cover practical woodworking, boatbuilding technology and composite manufacture, whilst working on live projects for clients. You will produce and fit structural boat components and work with fibre-reinforced plastics in our specialist workshops at Ponsharden.
Units covered in the syllabus include:
• Business improvement techniques.
• Safe and effective working in the marine industry.
• Principles of boat construction.
• Construction and repair of hulls and boat structures.
• Fibre reinforced plastics technology for marine constructions.
A highly practical course run at Ponsharden boatyard.
This qualification is aimed at learners aged 16 and above who would like to gain the advanced knowledge and skills required to become a boatbuilder, either as part of the development phase of an apprenticeship, or as a full time student.
Following the skills and knowledge gained during the Level 2 Diploma in Boatbuilding or by direct entry to the Level 3 course.
You will be trained at an advanced level in the following areas:
• Work methods, including using specialist equipment and minimising hazards and risks
• Identifying and responding to customer needs
• Planning and setting up projects
• Manufacturing, assembling, disassembling and repairing components
• Fitting out and finishing boats
• Supporting commissioning of the boat.
The work experience blocks when you’ll be working on live project briefs for clients.
Find out more:
Upon completion of this qualification, you will be equipped with the level of competence required to progress into a successful career as a Boatbuilder.
Careers in this industry
- Maintenance repair
- Boat painter
"The college has great industry links so we get to work on live projects. The location of the workshop is also perfect as we get to see the restoration projects from the Maritime Museum and the new builds from Rustler Yachts" George Henny, Boatbuilding student
Ben Davies Wing Manager for Ben Ainslie's America's Cup Team
Former boatbuilding student Ben Davis, secured the position of wing manager for the Land Rover BAR team thanks to his expertise in boat technology and is thrilled to be taking on the challenge of the America’s Cup, which is described as the ‘Formula One of sailing’.
“The boatbuilding course was a real stepping stone in the right
direction. The skills I learnt at Falmouth Marine School, I use on a
daily basis. As wing manager every day is a different challenge, from
travelling around the world to race venues to building different
Simon Combe Workshop Technician - Boatbuilding
Simon is a Falmouth Marine School alumni and has worked with a range of boatyards in the construction of yachts and small craft. He supervises both the wood and composite workshops at Falmouth Marine School's boatbulding training centre at Ponsharden boatyard, helping learners on a day-to-day basis with developing their practical skills, techniques and project planning. He also acts as a consultant with the College's Marine Innovation Service, assisting local businesses who wish to develop their processes and products in composite boat manufacturing.
Chris Bosanko-Green Boatbuilding Course Manager
Having grown up in Cornwall I have always had a love for the sea and dabbled in various water sports throughout my youth, with sailing being the biggest attraction.
After school, I studied construction at Cornwall College and worked as a Draughtsman in Truro until life took me in a totally different direction and away from Cornwall, for 24 years, while serving Queen and Country in both the Royal Air Force and Army.
A brief visit home to Cornwall was enough for me to fall in love with the place all over again; I made the decision to retire from the military, study towards my RYA Yachtmaster qualifications and having developed a passion for wooden boats, built using both traditional and modern methods, to pursue a new career as a boatbuilder.
I studied boatbuilding at Falmouth Marine School, while establishing my own small wooden boat building company. Later I was given the opportunity to return to Falmouth Marine School to teach the course I had previously studied. Having taught for many years in the military, I had always enjoyed teaching people new skills and was excited to be involved with educating and developing the next generation of Boatbuilders; for future years to come.
*Courses listed on this website are indicative of the subject, nature and level of study. The college reserves the right to alter specific qualifications titles, awarding bodies and levels of qualification, which can change in year. Any cost may also vary, based on personal funding eligibility. The Cornwall College Group reserves the right to withdraw any course listed at any time.