Nine-month apprenticeships begin in September and end in May. We accept students throughout the year for twelve-week internships. Please contact us if you would like more information about getting started at the Shop and beginning your education at a Maine boat building school. We have two building seasons within our year. Small boats generally take between four and six months to complete, while larger boats like an 18′ Catboat or a Carney 24 lobster boat are year-long projects. Boat launches are always an exciting time for our school: the community turns out in force to cheer on boats and builders alike. Launches are typically held in mid-winter and early summer.
The Apprentice Week in the Apprenticeshop
Apprentices begin each day at 8 a.m. for fifteen minutes of clean up. At 8:15 staff, apprentices, volunteers, and 12-week students gather for Morning Meeting where we discuss weather, tides, and share readings. This is a time for all to come together as a community to make announcements and discuss community issues. Apprentices take an hour for lunch, and are usually finishing their day at 5 p.m. Although these hours allow a good amount of building time, apprentices oftentimes want or need to stay late and come in on weekends to work on their boats and personal building projects. As launches approach, crews are expected to work out overtime schedules to assure that the boat meets its launch date.
Fridays begin with walk-around, where each crew shares what they have learned working on the their boat projects during the week and discusses their project in detail. Walk-around is an open forum where other apprentices can ask questions and observe a variety of construction styles.
Between April and October, while our floats are in the water, apprentices have ample opportunities to sail. Several weeks out of the year are set aside for expedition-style sailing trips, and the Shop community sails together on Friday afternoons. Apprentices and 12-week students also have the chance to get “checked out” on certain fleet boats for use on weekends and during off hours. At The Apprenticeshop we believe that learning how a boat operates when sails are filled in heavy wind, is the best way for a boat builder to understand where a cleat should be placed.
All of our programs have a seamanship component because we believe in the value of experience on the water. The sailboats on our pier have a wide variety of different rigs, and our power driven vessels have engines ranging from 4-cylinder inboard diesels, to 2-stroke outboard engines. All of these are available for use and training to ensure that students are exposed to a wide variety of seamanship opportunities.
In the winter when boats are wrapped and the floats are in, seamanship isn’t a possibility. On Fridays, instead of sailing, we might visit a local crafts person’s shop, take a trip to a maritime museum, or learn a skill that is not covered in the daily routine of boat building. This time is not rigidly scheduled, but directed by apprentice suggestions and interests.