1 Year Course

Do I need any qualifications or prior experience to learn boatbuilding?

The simple answer is no

We do not require any specific previous experience; many of our new students have never done any kind of boatbuilding. A background in practical, problem solving hobbies or jobs is helpful, but the most important attributes are a willingness to learn, an ability to work hard and an enthusiasm for boats and the sea.

We begin by developing your skills with wood

The first twelve weeks are spent in the Joinery Shop to give you the tool skills you will need in the boatbuilding world, whether you have previous experience of carpentry or not. In our purpose-built workshop you will develop your craftmanship and expertise in tool handling. You will learn about timber as you cut, shape and join wood to make your own hand tools and tool box.

When you are ready, you’ll start work in the boatyard.

The size of Boathouse 4, where the college is based, provides space for an unrivalled collection of new build, restoration and historic boats in a suitable condition for you to work on.

How will I learn?

This is a practical, hands-on course

Elements of boatbuilding theory are taught in our classroom, but the vast majority of the content is taught through the demonstration, and practical application, of key techniques on real boats. 

What qualifications do you offer?

We offer two qualifications on the 1 year course

Successful students on the 1 year course are awarded the IBTC Portsmouth Practical Diploma in Wooden Boatbuilding and can also choose to complete the City & Guilds 2463 Level 3 qualification in Marine Construction, Systems Engineering and Maintenance.

The IBTC Portsmouth Diploma is a highly desirable and internationally recognised qualification in traditional wooden boatbuilding and restoration techniques. 

What jobs does the course lead to?

The valuable, transferable skills we teach can be used in many different ways

Previous students are currently restoring historic vessels, working in private boatyards, fitting out superyachts around the world or making fine furniture. Several have set up and now run their own boatbuilding or woodworking businesses. 

The college is regularly contacted by employers looking for skilled craftspeople to fill a variety of vacancies at entry level and above. We are always delighted to be able to recommend recent students for these jobs. 

Do you have accommodation on site?

Not at present

The college does not have it's own accommodation for students, although it is something we are looking at for the future. Portsmouth is a University city with a large property rental market and finding suitable accommodation is usually straightforward. We are happy to offer advice and suggestions on where to look. 

What is the course cost?

Details of the course pricing structure can be found in our Course Brochure



The next full time 1 year Boatbuilding Course will begin on 2nd March 2020.

The College has two intakes a year, in March and September, with a maximum of 14 places available in each intake. 

The course is full-time. The usual hours are 9am-5pm Monday to Friday. There are 5 set holiday weeks spaced through the year.


What to do next ?


Confident the course is right for you? Great! Get in touch and we'll set things up for you. 


Come to our Open Afternoon

Explore your opportunities at IBTC Portsmouth. Meet tutors, staff and students on an information-packed afternoon.


Funding the course

Bursaries and external funding can assist with course costs. Find out more.


Thank you to our partners and supporters

Heritage Lottery Fund - Lottery Funded
Supported by the Regional Growth Fund
National Historic Ships UK
Shipshape Network - The Solent
Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust
Axminster Tools & Machinery