About IBTC Portsmouth

IBTC Portsmouth: Building Tomorrow's Boatbuilders

Our Ethos

We are dedicated to preserving traditional boatbuilding skills by introducing new generations to the art. We train students to the highest standards of craftsmanship and instil in them a sense of pride in the pursuit of excellence. 

Our Training

There is no one way to build a boat, and construction methods can vary greatly between similar-looking craft. As a result, every traditional construction or restoration project presents unique challenges.

The IBTC Portsmouth course provides training in a variety of construction methods, and is designed to develop your versatility, problem solving and spatial reasoning skills to meet such challenges. 

The College has collected a wide variety of real, operational new builds and carefully selected restoration projects of different sizes ready for student training tasks. This offers the opportunity to gain experience of each stage, on craft from different eras, constructed using a variety of techniques.

Our training is practically based, with some classroom sessions to look at the theory and occasional site visits to see different techniques in action.


Our Facilities

The College is based in Boathouse 4, a 3,500 sqm inter-war boatshed in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. It is a custom-designed facility, equipped with joinery, machine and varnish shops, a library, and a large main boatbuilding floor. Boathouse 4 is also home to the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust's collection of historic small naval craft, which provide real and valuable heritage restoration projects for student training. 

For more information about the history of Boathouse 4 click here

Boathouse 4



See us in action

Our graduates apply their shipwright skills all over the world, not only in wooden boatbuilding but in a host of other applications including green frame timber construction and furniture making.

When lockdown restrictions allow, visit Boathouse 4 to see our current students learning their skills and to find out more about our hands-on courses.

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard plans to re-open on May 17th 2021. Boathouse 4 will be open 10am - 4.30pm.  You do not need a Portsmouth Historic Dockyard ticket to enter. 

Courses on Offer

1 Year Course

Our full-time internationally recognised wooden boatbuilding training course


12 Week Joinery Course

Learn the essentials of traditional joinery and craftsmanship


Short Courses

See the range of courses available to book today


Thank you to our partners and supporters

Heritage Lottery Fund - Lottery Funded
Supported by the Regional Growth Fund
Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage
Shipshape Network - The Solent
Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust
National Historic Ships UK