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Marine Systems, Boat Building & Yacht Design Training

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The Landing School provides educational programs that effectively prepare students for entry-level careers in the marine industry. The Landing School was established in 1978 by John Burgess and Helen Tupper as a nonprofit, post-secondary institution dedicated to providing the highest quality hands-on education in boatbuilding. The first year was attended by nine students who used a cow barn as a classroom and built two dories and two 18-foot sailboats as the curriculum. That program became the Wooden Boat Building Program and was eventually expanded to include both Wood Construction and Wood Composite Construction.

The School serves the marine industry by providing skilled employees who design, build and repair boats with the highest standards of quality. Accordingly, The School receives generous support and direction from the industry in curriculum design and program implementation. Noted industry leaders regularly lecture at The School and evaluate student work.

The Landing School offers five unique education and training options designed to prepare students for careers in the marine industry. Each program option is a comprehensive, full-time course that lasts runs from September to June. Successful completion of any one program below culminates in a certificate. Students may choose to complete two of the programs over two years and earn an associate's degree. The educational programs are identical; students in both the diploma and degree programs study and work together.

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Landing School Programs

Certificate (1 Year)  |  AS Degree (2 Years)

  • Wooden Boat Building Program: Wood Construction Course (formerly called Small Boats) - Students who select the Wood Construction concentration spend one semester constructing small, traditional Lapstrake craft using various woods and epoxies and finishing them with bronze fasteners and hardware. In the other semester, the building method shifts to Carvel planking on steam-bent ribs to build a second boat.
  • Wooden Boat Building Program: Wood Composite Construction Course (formerly called Cruising Boats) - Students who take the Wood Composite Construction concentration learn to use wood in conjunction with various composite materials such as cores and fiberglass to construct a modern boat. Cold molding and vacuum bagging are the primary building methods used for the hull and deck. The project boat is complex with an interior, basic electrical systems and engine. Students are divided into teams and spend the entire term on one project from lofting to launch.
  • Composite Boat Building Program - Composite boats have become the most prevalent type of recreational vessel worldwide. The Composite Boat Building Program teaches both the structural theory and practical application of a wide variety of composite materials and resins. Students study construction techniques such as wet layup, open- and closed-molding, infusion and pre-preg partmaking. The construction of one or more boats drives the curriculum from lofting through tooling, construction and outfitting a vessel.
  • Yacht Design Program - The Yacht Design Program teaches the fundamentals of sail- and powerboat design including hull forms and deck geometry; resistance and propulsion; rig, keel and rudder design. Structural design in all materials is taught to ISO standards. Systems design rounds out the engineering aspects. Layouts and aesthetics of boats are considered in detail. The course makes extensive use of computer-aided design.
  • Marine Systems Program - The Marine Systems Program teaches the skills and knowledge necessary to install, maintain and repair modern boat systems using established industry standards. Students divide their time between the classroom and the shopfloor as they learn the theory behind AC and DC electrical systems, engines, plumbing, rigging, propulsion and refrigeration. Students have the opportunity to earn several industry certifications through on-site testing.
  • General Education Courses - Students in either of The Landing School's associate's degree programs must successfully complete 15 credit hours of general education in specifc areas of study. Evening courses are offered on-site every semester and in the summer months. The accredited courses are taught with a focus on marine industry careers, but they are also open to the general public.

LANDING School Features

Education from The Landing School reinforces and preserves traditional design and construction methods while advancing the boatbuilding art through the integration of modern techniques and contemporary materials. The marine industry values this unique training and has lauded The Landing School internationally with a reputation for graduates of exceptional quality. The School is considered by many leaders in the marine industry to be unequaled in its training. The Landing School blends modern yacht design, boatbuilding and marine systems technology under one roof. The School bridges the gap between theory and practice to provide graduates with the skills and understanding necessary for current employment opportunities and future career growth potential. More features:

  • Campus Location: Located in rural Arundel, Maine, The Landing School is a spacious, 50,000 square feet, contemporary building in a residential area. The facility a boatbuilding shop, design studio, systems laboratory, composites shop, classrooms, library, student lounge and administrative offices
  • Accreditation & Memberships: The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), Students at The Landing School are eligible to become student members (depending on the major), of, the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers, the American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC), and the American Boat Builders and Repairers Association (ABBRA).
  • Certificate Major areas: Wooden Boat Building, Composite Boat Building, Marine Systems and Yacht Design
  • Associate of Applied Science Degree concentration areas: Boat Building, Boat Building and Systems, Boat Building and Design & Yacht Design and Systems
  • Partner Programs: Credit exchange agreements with leading institutions in the industry - Southampton Solent University UK, College of the Atlantic, Maine and Maine Maritime Academy
  • Careers for Graduates: Graduates of The Landing School’s programs are actively employed in the marine industry worldwide as professional designers, builders, systems technicians, crewmembers and repairers. Some go into related fields such as sailmaking, spar design, marine surveying and yacht sales. Many start their own shops and design offices.
  • Classroom Size: The maximum number of students enrolled at one time in the Wood Construction Course within the Wooden Boat Building Program is 16.
  • Boatbuilding Projects: Instructors of The Landing School’s Wooden Boat Building Program select the designs for the project boats based on the depth of information and skill that students can gain from their construction. Some of the designs built by students in the past include: Haven Class 12 1/2, Beach Pea, Catspaw Dinghy and Downeast Peapod
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