47 Week Boatbuilding Course

Our flagship course leads to the internationally recognised and coveted IBTC Diploma in boatbuilding along with City and Guilds 2463 level 3. This comprehensive course covers all the skills required to build and maintain boats.

With an emphasis on learning through practical application of skills you will work on a wide range of boatbuilding projects, under the expert supervision of our knowledgeable instructors in our working boatyard.

High standards of accuracy and finish are set from the start and all students must successfully complete our Wood Working and Joinery Skills course, which depending on previous experience will take up to 12 weeks (see mid-length courses). You will then move into the boat shed and commence working on a variety of boatbuilding projects. You will work on a wide range of craft including new builds, restoration and renovation projects. All our boats are real and have real owners ensuring the skills and knowledge you acquire are forged on real projects. We believe this is essential for students to become genuine boat builders.

Course Duration:

47 Weeks. Course runs Monday-Thursday 08.00-16.30, Friday 08.00-12.30

Course typically includes:

The Training Modules – GRP Laminating and Bonding – Fixing Units of Furniture – Jig and Mould Making – Shaping timber, ply, MDF and other materials – Dinghy Building – Deck Laying – Lofting – Fixing Hull and Deck Fittings – Wood and GRP – Fitting Engine Bearers and Shafts – Splicing and Rigging – Painting and Varnishing – GRP Boat Repairs – Wood Boat Repairs and Restoration – Advanced Joinery and Pattern Making

Course tutors:

Rob Harbord
Rob HarbordBoatbuilding Instructor
Following in his grandfather’s footsteps, Rob has worked in the marine industry since training as a boat builder in the mid 1980’s.
Initially working in a small team building the world renowned Contessa 32 at M J Slacks in Lowestoft and then on to the rivers and broads of Norfolk and Suffolk on both hire fleets and private river boats.

Rob moved into commercial GRP repair for both the offshore and fishing industries as well as fit out and repair work in the leisure sector. He then spent a few years away from boats, making furniture before moving into education, firstly at Lowestoft College in the carpentry and joinery department and for the last 9 years here at IBTC Lowestoft.

In addition to instructing in the boatshed Rob specialises in wood machining, GRP moulding and repair, rope work, splicing and wire work.

Adrian Donovan
Adrian DonovanBoatbuilding Instructor
With a fascinating nautical career, including skipper on the BT Global Challenge twice, super-yacht Captain and work at the MCA, Adrian was a student at the IBTC and has built some truly beautiful boats.
These have been covered extensively by the press, with Viking Bird, a Folkboat being a frontrunner in the Classic Boat Restoration of the Year Awards, and his Whitehall Rowing Skiffs being used as centrepiece at the Southampton Boat Show


Course Dates at the IBTC

Course Full

4 places

9 places

10 places

Gap Year Course – Limited to 4 places – 7th August

Recognised Course

Level 3 / 2463

Download the prospectus


Check the course fees