AVAILABLE THROUGH: Falmouth Marine School | LEARNING AREAS: Marine Engineering & Boatbuilding COURSES

Boatbuilding and Restoration

Falmouth Marine School Falmouth LEVEL: 3 Marine Engineering & Boatbuilding

The course is designed to enable you to attain the skills needed, to find jobs in the marine industry. Alternatively you may wish to establish yourself as a bespoke boat builder and set up your own business or you may wish to use the transferable skills learned, to pursue a career complementary to boatbuilding, such as furniture making or joinery, or find employment in the burgeoning array of composite technology industries.

Some may simply enjoy the experience, as a well-deserved sabbatical, creating and repairing boats, learning new skills, in a friendly atmosphere, with like-minded people.

The 36 week Boat Building, Restoration and Repair Diploma, will incorporate the internationally recognised City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Boatbuilding; sessions are intensive and focused, and are structured around you developing your skills and techniques, primarily using, hand tools. You’ll make your own tool box, and some useful boat builder’s tools; this could include a spar gauge, a bevel gauge, a bevel board, a mallet and a bollow plane, joggle sticks. During the course you will also learn the basics of Fibre Reinforced Plastics (FRP) construction techniques, and you will produce a fibreglass model of a Falmouth Working boat.

The accompanying theory sessions will cover everything from health and safety in the boatyard, to lofting, construction methods and final finishing, and are outlined in the accompanying City & Guilds Boatbuilding Handbook.

You will be taught by, and work alongside, skilled and experienced boat builders who will encourage and challenge you to develop your skills. After the initial weeks, perfecting your hand skills, at the bench, you will begin testing your newfound skills working on live boat projects with a variety of different construction methods, both traditional, and modern. This phase of the course is focused, directed and intense. 80% of your time will be spent in the workshops learning different construction and repair methods and techniques, problem solving skills, surface finishing, and fitting out.

During the second phase of the course, theory is taught alongside the practical application of your developing skills, as we build and repair boats on the shop floor. We recognise that some students will have some previous experience, or learn new skills at different speeds, and we will structure your progression through the course to suit your particular needs.

The course will include, but not be limited to, workshop and theory modules incorporating:

• Bench and Yacht Joinery techniques.
• Shaping timber, plywood, and composite materials, using hand & power tools.
• Wood-working machinery competency.
• Lofting and developments.
• Setting up a boatbuilding strong back.
• Installing a stem, backbone and transom assembly to a strong back building jig.
• Setting up building moulds, lining off and horning – in.
• Modern Wooden Boatbuilding techniques using epoxy resins.
• Traditional Clinker and Carvel planking methods.
• Using workshop jigs.
• Finishing techniques, painting and varnishing.
• G.R.P hand lay-up techniques.
• Composite technology, including vacuum bagging and resin infusion.
• GRP boat repairs.
• Mould making.
• Wooden boat repairs and restoration.
• Pricing and estimating for repairs and restoration.
• Tool making.

Dependant on available boat projects during the academic year, the following skills may also be developed to back up theory knowledge gained in:

• Deck laying, planning and correct setting out, both traditional and composite.
• Installing watertight hull and deck fittings on wood and GRP vessels.
• Fitting engine bearers and shaft alignment ,
• Scribing and fixing internal furniture – mould making.
• Spar making.
• Oar making
• Interpreting yacht surveyor’s reports.
• Basic Splicing, and Cordage

Falmouth Marine School has been delivering apprenticeship training to the boatbuilding and shipbuilding industry since 1920, and have been running full-time boatbuilding courses since the early 1970’s. We are a recognised R.Y.A Training Centre, and have the benefit of being positioned at the centre of an extensive maritime industrial area. Many of our past alumni have set up marine businesses in this part of Cornwall, and continue to offer a wide variety of support and employment opportunities for our students.

We have a fully equipped, purpose built F.R.P workshop, which enables us to deliver composite training and upskilling to industry, including; product development, resin transfer moulding, and resin infusion techniques.

As part of The Cornwall College Group, our teaching staff’s extensive, and industry developed skillset, allow us to offer other courses to develop an individual’s learning; The Cornwall College Group also help to deliver aspects of the award winning Pendennis Shipyard apprenticeship programme.

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.

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Boatbuilding and Maintenance Diploma

Start Date

September 2020




1 year


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.

Marine Engineering & Boatbuilding


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.