Build canoes, small fishing craft, or large cargo ships.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$25,000 – $72,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Shipwrights do?

Also known as a Boat Builder, a Shipwright designs and constructs watercraft. That includes everything from handmade canoes, small fishing boats, and recreational schooners to large cargo ships and naval vessels.

Human beings have spent centuries trying to find a better way to get from point A to point B. They invented the wheel, for instance, in 8,000 B.C., followed by the chariot in 3,500 B.C. They invented the steam engine, meanwhile, in 1804, the bicycle in 1817, the automobile in 1889, and the airplane in 1903.

Perhaps the most important contributions to transportation history, however, are neither by land nor by air, but rather by water — courtesy of boats. If you’re a Shipwright, boats’ historical, economic, and recreational significance isn’t lost on you. After all, you build them.

Using your knowledge of physics, engineering, and math, you create blueprints for the boat’s design. Then, you take those blueprints to a shipyard, where you use them to build, focusing first on the boat’s scaffolding, followed by its hull, its deck, and, finally, its interior.

As much a Builder as an Engineer, you use hand and power tools to measure, cut, and form parts. Next, you attach fittings, plates, and bulkheads, then assemble and install timbers. Finally, you sand, paint, and wax surfaces.

As a Shipwright, you’re also a Project Manager — in charge of scheduling and supervising work — and an Inspector, in charge of examining the boat and preparing it for launch.

Finally, because you love boats so much, you’re probably the Captain of your own vessel, too, in your spare time!

Should I be a Shipwright?

You should have a high school degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • Also known as: Boatwright, Shipwright Apprentice

    How to become a Shipwright

    Most Shipwrights have no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9zaaaa&chl=no+college+%2871%25%29|certificate+%2829%25%29||||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,71,71
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