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Boat Building Apprenticeships, Internships, Workshops and Sailing Programs in Rockland ME

the apprenticeshop rockland

Founded in 1972, The Apprenticeshop has been dedicated to inspiring personal growth through craftsmanship, community and traditions of the sea. Located on the waterfront in Rockland Maine, the Apprenticeshop offers programs for youth and adults that ranges from 2 hours to 2 years. Students of all ages come here from around the world to learn traditional boat building skills, sailing and maritime arts. Today, as a non-profit organization, the Apprenticeshop is recognized as one of the finest and oldest traditional boat building schools in the country.

The shop maintains its original focus of craftsmanship, seamanship and community. Students are still called apprentices in reference to the master-apprentice educational model the shop upholds. Apprentices still sail in shop-built boats, learn traditional methods from instructors and each other, help maintain the facilities, and foster a continuing spirit of community.

apprenticeshop campus rockland

Training Programs

Shop Programs

  • Two-year Apprenticeship Program: This 2-year apprenticeship program is the core of what is offered at the Apprenticeshop. It is an intensive experience designed to teach most aspects of traditional wooden boatbuilding and seamanship. The Apprentice Program offers students a unique chance to learn traditional wooden boatbuilding in a hands-on, real-world environment. From day one, students are in the Shop, tools in hand, working on projects. Instructors work alongside students on the Shop floor. The boatbuilding projects have real clients and real deadlines. There are no lectures or quizzes. There is no homework. There is only the boat and the crew to which each individual is accountable.
  • Twelve-week Intensive Small Boatbuilding Program: The 12-week Small Boatbuilding Program introduces students to boatbuilding through the construction of a 12-foot, flat-bottomed lapstrake rowboat, the Susan skiff. The 12-week program allows for the completion of the Susan skiff at a comfortable pace for most students. 12-week participants are active members of the Shop community, participating in Friday walk-around, Shop clean up, field trips, seamanship programs during the sailing season, and other Shop activities.


  • Traditional Navigation (4 sessions): In this multi-session workshop, participants will learn how to navigate using paper charts and traditional chart tools.
  • Woodworking for Beginners (8 sessions): This workshop is intended for those who have little to no experience using tools or working with wood. The goal is to help participants develop familiarity with both power tools and hand tools, as well as confidence to tackle simple projects at home or pursue further studies in woodworking.
  • Basic Leatherwork (2 sessions): This introduction to leatherwork involves making your choice of a wallet, a belt, or a Sailor’s Palm.
  • Marlinspike Seamanship - Making Ditty Bags (4 sessions): In this multi-week workshop, you’ll learn the basics of marlinspike seamanship through making a ditty bag.
  • Half Hull Model Making (2 days): Historically, half hull models were an important design and sales tool at a time when shipbuilders didn’t have computers. In this weekend workshop, you will learn how to make a half hull model from start to finish.

Sailing Programs

  • US Sailing Level 1 Certification: The Apprenticeshop will be hosting one of US Sailing’s 4 day (40 hour) Level 1 Certification Courses. Topics covered in the course include - classroom and on-the-water teaching techniques, risk management, safety issues, lesson planning, creative activities, ethical concerns, and sports physiology and psychology.
  • Adult and Youth Sailing: The Apprenticeshop is located directly on Rockland Harbor and the Community Sailing Program was designed to provide Rockland area youth and adults the opportunity to develop self-confidence and satisfaction while learning the timeless skills of the sailor and the sea. This program has grown to include afterschool sailing in the spring and fall, and a full season of sailing instruction for beginner through intermediate adult and youth sailors.