Career Profile: Wooden Boat Rebuilder
Suppose that you wanted to ride a boat on a lake or stream. You might choose a boat made of aluminum or steel, but you could choose a boat made of wood. Like anything else, wooden boots can break down and need rebuilding. Although opportunities can be limited in some areas of Canada, a career as a wooden boat rebuilder can be a good choice.
Many tasks are part of being a wooden boat rebuilder. The work can include sketching the boat that is being rebuilt and making design choices, normally with the help of a computer-aided design (CAD) system. The next step is to choose the kind of wood or veneer for rebuilding the boat, and then making fastenings and other parts of the boat that need rebuilding. Following that, they use special equipment to cut pieces of wood into the right size and shape for what the project requires.
Normally, people in this trade complete an apprenticeship that includes eight thousand hours of on-the-job training, ending with a Certificate of Apprenticeship. This process usually takes about five years. Another option is to work at least eight thousand hours in a related area and then apply for a Trade Equivalency Assessment. A successful applicant can then be certified as journeyperson in the trade. A high school diploma is also normally necessary. Courses in English, mathematics, and drafting can be useful.
After completing the training requirements, people can start to work as wooden boat rebuilders. Being able to read blueprints is usually necessary, as well as using hand or power tools and measuring instruments. Salaries in this trade usually begin at about $58,000 and can rise to $64,000 with experience. Doing physical work on the boats can become difficult as people age, but the task of designing boats can continue late into people’s careers.
Like in many trades, wooden boat rebuilders need to have many skills. They might work on the restoration of historic boats for museums or universities, or they might work for a large company with clients all over the world. Some people in this trade might have their own business and work directly with customers, but others might get their work from supervisors and never meet the people whose boats they are rebuilding. Being able to follow instructions but also to think a problem through and come up with a solution is important in this trade.
Being near water is essential for this trade. Although some people might be able to find enough work rebuilding recreational boats in the middle of the country, most work in this field is likely to be available on the east or west coast. However, becoming a specialist in historic boats could help a wooden boat rebuilder find work even in places with no lakes or oceans nearby.
Much of the work of wooden boat rebuilders can be indoors if a large enough space is available. However, working outside is often necessary, and people need to be able to withstand the weather. The hours can be long when a project needs to be finished or when there is an emergency, but otherwise, people in this trade can generally work regular hours.
Because wooden boats are not as common as they once were, finding enough work in this trade can be difficult. However, becoming a wooden boat rebuilder can still be a good choice for those who are interested.
Economic Research Institute. Boat Builder Wood Salary in Canada. https://www.erieri.com/salary/job/boat-builder-wood/canada.
Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program. “Wooden Boat Rebuilder.” https://oyap.ca/trades/?fuseaction=Profile&appnum=118.
Payscale Canada. “Salary for Industry: Boat Building.” https://www.payscale.com/research/CA/Industry=Boat_Building/Salary.
WorkBC. “Boat Assemblers and Inspectors (NOC 9531).” https://www.workbc.ca/careers/9531.