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Traditional Wooden Boat Building Training & Summer Programs at GLBBS

great lakes boat building school glbbs

Established in 2005, the Great Lakes Boat Building School (GLBBS) offers a quality educational programs designed to teach quality wooden boat building skills and preserve craftsmanship. The only licensed proprietary school of its kind in the state, the GLBBS is housed in a 12,000 square foot waterfront facility - east of the Mackinac Bridge along the northern shore of Lake Huron in the Les Cheneaux Islands - designed and built specifically for the teaching of woodworking, basic design, traditional and modern boat building, and yacht joinery.

GLBBS is centrally located in the Les Cheneaux Islands, which embrace the northern shore of Lake Huron between the St. Ignace / Mackinac Island area and the mouth of the St. Mary’s River. Great Lakes Boat Building School is 35 minute drive from lakes Michigan and Superior.  Located in the remarkable Great Waters region of the Upper Peninsula, the Les Cheneaux Area is an authentic place where the community shares a passion for adventure, independence, and boats.The area’s heritage is steeped in woodworking and boatbuilding and wherever a student goes and whomever he or she meets, one quickly finds commonality.

glbbs campus

Training Programs

Boatbuilding Programs



  • Woodworking & Traditional Boat Building Program (1 year): The Classic Woodworking & Traditional Boat Building Program is carefully designed to give the students a broad course of study in the methods and materials required of today’s wooden boat builder.  In the first year of study, students will learn the woodworking skills required to build vessels in the traditional carvel and lapstrake methods. They will also work with the modern techniques and materials used in the construction of wood/epoxy composite craft.
  • Comprehensive Career Boat Building Program (2 years): All students enrolled in the core, two-year Comprehensive Career Boat Building Program take part in the traditional boat building and classic woodworking courses of the Traditional Program (details given above). In the second year, the curriculum builds on the student’s repertoire of woodworking and boat building skills with the construction of modern medium sized boats.  Students will be guided through the boat building process using state of that art practices found in sophisticated shops today.
  • Avocational Boat Building Program: The Avocational Boat Building Program is designed for the student who is not necessarily interested in learning boat building skills for career or employment purposes. This program is for those who want to pursue the craft of boat building whether as a hobby or just fun.

Summer Workshops

  • Build Your Own Northeaster Dory - 17′
  • Build Your Own Annapolis Wheery - 17’9″
  • Build Your Own Tenderly
  • Build Your Own Eastport Pram - 7’9″
  • Build Your Own Passagemaker Dinghy - 11’7″
  • Build Your Own Skerry
  • Build Your Own Stand Up Kahalo Paddleboard - 12’6″ and 14′
  • Build Your Own Shearwater Kayak - 14′ and 16′
  • Build Your Own Woodduck Kayak - 10′, 12′ and 14′
  • Build Your Own Cocktail Class Racer - 8′
  • Make Your Own Canoe Paddle
  • Lathe / Turning Workshop
  • Strip Plank Canoe Building

LAST UPDATED ON May 6, 2017

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