Wooden boat-building not a good career?

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by ancient kayaker, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Im in a major port. Perhaps one thousand boats in the area. The only wooden boats are a handful of fishing trawlers that are over 40 years old and all their repair work is done by the same 65 year old shipwright and his son.

    Why would anyone want to train for a job building or maintaining wooden boats when there are none to build. ?
     
  2. Tad
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    Tad Boat Designer

    The honesty of Boatbuilding schools as far as jobs go varies. At the school that used to be here (closed now) I gave the students a reality check lecture on their prospects, some were shocked.....but they are adults. It's buyer beware, do your own research. If you look at technical school sites you can find data on where graduates are and what they are earning at graduation, 2 years, 5 years, etc. You won't see that for wooden boat building schools. We actually had financial people stop loans to students as they claimed there is no call for wooden boat builders.

    What boatbuilding schools do is provide basic training in woodworking via the medium of building boats. Things like reading plans and building to them, designing something and building it, sharpening tools, shop safety, hand and power tool use, working as a team, understanding wood, basic joints, finishing, etc.

    Of the 100+ graduates of the local boatbuilding school, perhaps 2 (guessing) are involved in new wooden boat building. And those 2 created their shop's and businesses. The rest are building custom cabinetry, repairing boats or houses or furniture, building movie sets, crewing on large vessels, or working in shipyards at various trades.

    Out my office window i can see 45 boats, about half those in our bay. Of the 45 I can see 11 are older wooden boats. So in our small bay there are roughly 22 older wooden boats all needing continued maintenance, upgrade, and repair.....that's a fair amount of work.......
     
  3. El_Guero

    El_Guero Previous Member

    The OP romanticized war, I placed 'war' in its historical context.

    If you need to feel superior, then hit my negative feedback button again.

    :cool:
     
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  4. El_Guero

    El_Guero Previous Member

    I hope those learning the trade are doing so out of a sense of love and adventure.

    But, I would hazard a guess most actually think they will find work. 'Education' has become BIG Business. And 'Big Business' is usually about profit at the expense of the client, not about taking care of the client's needs.

    Those who learn out of love will always enjoy what they learned. Those thinking that this will give them a fast track to wealth and riches will live a sad dream.

    Wayne
     
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  5. daiquiri
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    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    Dreams, Michael. The same old motor which has been driving humanity since its dawn, up to something like the beginning of 1980's. Then we apparently stopped dreaming, so each time we are in front of a person who is doing something not for profit but to pursue a dream, we are left in amaze.

    I consider myself a rather rational person, being an engineer who makes his living by producing numbers, technical drawings and reports. But I am also one of these weird folks who dream of making wooden boats with my own hands. It is growing on me year by year, proportional to the quantity of paperwork which the society requires me to produce for each and every project I do.

    It is a purely emotional stuff, no rationality. Boats have always been seen as objects on the border lines between art, engineering and craftsmanship. They make us dream of voyages to countries far over the horizon, or about relaxing trips to lonely peaceful harbors. Boats make us dream, like few other human creations do.

    The rationality wants me to keep doing what I've been doing in the last 15 yrs, because that's where the income comes from. But we are not just rational robots, programmed to perform for making money. We are made of emotions too, and recognize that the beauty is not in the paperwork. The beauty is hidden in those trunks and sheets of wood which slowly become complex and sexy hull shapes, and ultimately a beautiful boat. And sometimes we are ready to lose something from the economical point of view, in order to gain from the side of inner emotional satisfaction.

    So you can count I'll be among these "anthropological cases" within few years, as soon as I gather enough knowledge to start cutting and fastening the pieces together... Not for profit but for the pure joy of making my dream come true. My ultimate goal is this one, and you know her well: ;)

    [​IMG]

    Cheers
     
  6. Tad
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    Tad Boat Designer

    Yes, as Daiq says above, probably the majority of students did not care about job prospects. They were attending boatbuilding school to become educated in that craft, not nessisairily to get a job.

    Overall education has changed over the last 10-15 years into "job training". Which is of little use to those with dreams of creatively satisfying craftsmanship......
     
  7. troy2000
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    The original poster didn't romanticize war; he said "...the way war was romanticized a hundred years ago."
    Poppycock. When did progressives start glorifying war and the military? Last I heard, people like you were still accusing them of hating the military and undermining our war efforts. '...You need to go home, son, and make up your mind.'

    By the way, I prefer to be called a liberal. I see no need to mealy-mouth my way around the word and use substitutes, just because Rush Limbaugh clones and ditto heads use it as an insult.

    You also need to stop jumping to conclusions; there are healthier ways to exercise. When I give negative rep (which I rarely do), I sign my name to it. So apparently I'm not the only one who thinks you were out of line.

    If you'd like to continue this discussion, feel free to PM me; this will be my last public response.

    edit: I'm sure you still believe I'm the one who gave you your first negative rep -- so I'll give you some now. Since giving rep (good or bad) to the same person twice isn't allowed without giving it to something like twenty other people in between, that should prove rather conclusively it wasn't me last time. Is that satisfactory?:)
     
  8. daiquiri
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    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    I agree with the last phrase. Please guys, continue the political (or ideological?) discussion through PM. Or start another thread. It is completely out of context here.
    Cheers
     
  9. troy2000
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    I think you've summed up the situation rather nicely.
     
  10. Landlubber
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    Landlubber Senior Member

    From what I remember at tech school, we were told that only one in ten would actually graduate anyhow, so I guess natural attrition will count out those that do not have a passion or the real hand skills to finish the 4 year course.
    This has been the case for decades, not just recently, and the figures for my years were correct.
    Boatbuilding/shipwright work can (and does) make a reasonable living for those that care about their work and do it honestly. I am nearly retired now (63) and still love the work every day , so do not be deterred by some comments.
    Following the GFC, certainly there is basically no new builds, but plenty of on going maintenance and some new work still. The maintenance work has to be done or the "investment" quickly deteriorates to Zilch. I see there will be work as things get even worse, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, but life goes on anyhow.
     
  11. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Its true that all education is good and that boatbuilding is so unique that people will always be drawn to the dream.

    What I worry about is the general decline of Maritime Education and operational standards in the US. Education has turned into basket weaving classes.

    Do you realize that the US is no longer on the IMO "white list "

    https://homeport.uscg.mil/cgi-bin/s...05c9&user_id=2a47d4dbfd24ce2da39438e736cab2d6

    INCREDIBLE
     
  12. daiquiri
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    daiquiri Engineering and Design

  13. bntii
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    bntii Senior Member

    While I see plenty of work doing interior and exterior joinery on modern hulls, involved shipwright work on wooden hulled vessels is rare where I am in Maryland. The few old gals which come along are purchased by owners whose purchase choice appears to be driven by the economy of the old wood boats and they lack the means to pay for outside contract work for repairs and maintenance.

    One can occasionally find a well heeled owner who purchases a classic and has a realistic approach to restoration and maintenance. That person will line up trades to accomplish to work much as he would do in purchasing an older house.
    Purchase- half again or much more invested to accomplish needed repairs and on to satisfying use.

    More typical from what I see in owners of old wooded hulls is a unrealistic assessment of condition and repair needs, few assets and even less time set aside to bring the boat back into service.
    The predictable result are numerous dead dreams set in the back lot bone yards of every marina in the country...

    I watched one such dreamer destroy Nat Herreshoff''s Helianthus III:

    nr812p.jpg
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helianthus_III_(yacht)
    http://www.mht.maryland.gov/nr/NRDe...el&FROM=NRCountyList.aspx?COUNTY=Anne Arundel
    "Lost at sea" as stated on the page is a funny way of stating how a owner who couldn't afford to own the vessel let her settle in a shallow creek, abandoned the boat as he couldn't afford to raise her and forced the state to break her up with a bucket barge...


    There are not enough enthusiasts with sufficient means to take on saving classics and we are rapidly loosing them.
     
  14. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    It is possible to make a living working on wooden boats. The problem is that people are not willing to spend the years necessary to learn the skills. Schools claim that they can give you an apprenticeship in a few months or maybe a year. That is totally unrealistic. At 54 I consider myself a shipwright. However, I started at 11 and put a lot of time working for no money. My payment was knowledge and a sandwich.
     
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  15. El_Guero

    El_Guero Previous Member

    Gonzo, I appreciate your work ethic!

    There are way to many unrealistic people.

    The dot com billionaire and millionaire mentality was drilled into our workforce.

    Fortunately, there are still a lot of good blue collar people who are carrying the USA .... but, when they quit carrying the load, it is gonna be real difficult for the unrealistic ones.

    IMHO.

    Wayne
     
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