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Custom Boatbuilder

What They Do

Insider Info

A custom boatbuilder may use wood, metal and fiberglass to build a boat from blueprints. Each boat may be unique, since it is built for a specific customer. Custom boatbuilders may also restore antique boats or design boats themselves.

To build vessels that are seaworthy, a custom boatbuilder must work with raw materials -- wood and metals or varnish and paint. Boatbuilders create all types of boats, including skiffs, yachts, sailboats, schooners and many others.

For a person who loves to work with their hands, this is an excellent career choice. Days can be spent constructing boats and sails that will last for many years.

However, there are other duties that a custom boatbuilder must do. Selling and designing boats, finding customers, bookkeeping and ordering supplies are all in a day's work.

Custom boatbuilders can either work for a company that produces seaworthy vessels or be self-employed.

Since many boatbuilders work alone, they often have to find creative ways to manage tasks without the help of other people. "The hardest part of working alone is moving the big fiberglass pieces around," says Mervyn Hammatt. "I have to invent ingenious ways to get a completed deck on top of a completed hull."

At a Glance

Design and construct boats for specific customers

  • Most custom boatbuilders choose to work for themselves
  • You'll need to operate power tools and be strong enough to move large sections of completed boats
  • Most boatbuilders learn through an apprenticeship with an experienced boatbuilder