How to Become a

Sailboat Builder

The complete career guide to be a Sailboat Builder: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $30,760
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • -3.1%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Don't Take Work Home
    Career Attribute
  • Growing Industry
    Career Attribute

Sailboat builders are experts at crafting and repairing a wide range of boats such as sailing, fishing, motor and pleasure boats.

Recommended Schools

What is a Sailboat Builder?


Sailboat builders are in charge of the following duties:

  • All types of boat building work such as completing any repairs, modifications and evaluations on wood, metal as well as fiberglass sailboats.
  • Work with blueprints to carefully build new sailboats and restore old or used boats.
  • Utilise various hand tools such as joiners, planers and circular saws to carve the boat frame and place fittings securely.
  • Perform repairs on plastic boat structures via deck removal and by using flotation materials to access repair areas and coating them with matting and fiberglass cloth.

Day In The Life

As a sailboat builder, you will be showing up to work and spending the better part of the day working on sailboats in various stages of completion. You may be spending time chopping, cutting and shaping parts of a boat, attaching metal pieces to the boat, measuring lumber and assembling timber for the hull. Selecting the correct material to use such as timber, steel and alloy is part of your job, so the sailboats built have a solid frame. You will constantly be around the sound of running power equipment, grinding and chipping.

Building boats also requires that you work on a boat and navigate around electrical equipment, which has its own risks since water and electrical hazards are a dangerous combination. The work will be based on your location, i.e. if you are working at a boat-building facility or a shipyard, and the scale of the operation. For instance, at a boat yard, you are likely to build boats, repair and perform routine maintenance checks on smaller sailboats.

Work Schedule And Typical Hours

In this role, you can expect to work between 37 to 40 hours in a week. If urgent repairs are required, you have to work weekends and irregular shifts such as late nights. Some parts of building sailboats involve working in workshops and factories, but the majority of the repair work is carried on outside at builder yards and slipways, in all weathers.

Growth Of The Job

Careers in this industry are expected to grow at 9% in the coming years. At present, there is high demand for a wide range of boats, leading to promising careers in this sector. Many older boat builders may retire due to injuries overtime since the job hazards are high, creating new job openings for aspiring candidates. With sufficient experience, you can progress to the level of a technician or branch out to related fields such as marine design, construction engineering or specialist equipment sales. A few employees are known to move into self-employment and start their independent boat building yards.

Typical Employers

Employers look for sailboat builders with varying levels of experience, for positions such as finish worker, sail designer, composite technician, joiner and boat builders. Professional certifications from reputed organisations are highly coveted to gain an edge against other competition. Find work with companies that construct yachts, motor boats, fishing and commercial crafts or even inflatable boats and dinghies. In the current market, the following companies are looking to hire: Department of Homeland Security, Forest River, Inc., Sportsman Boats Mfg. and Marine Search Associates.


Recommended Schools

How To Become a Sailboat Builder

No specific entry requirements exist in order to take on a career as a sailboat builder. Sailboat builders can work once they have a high school diploma in addition to 2-4 years of training or acquired experience in the field. Getting a state-issued safe boating certificate or license is further beneficial for aspiring candidates. Most jobs value ground level experience versus educational qualifications, although there are certain certificate training programs that specialize in boating materials like wooden boat construction or fibreglass boat construction. These programs can be completed in less than one year. Alternatively, for more supervisory roles, you may get an associate’s degree in relevant areas such as marine carpentry or boatbuilding.

If you enroll in a boat-building program, you will sign up for a comprehensive knowledge building in aspects of yacht design, boat construction and building, and marine systems. Learning is encouraged through a mix of lectures, hands-on projects and field trips. These programs also emphasise developing fundamentals like science, mathematics and language arts. To truly excel in this role, you should cultivate a wide range of technical expertise with the ability to smoothly work on sailboats with different construction materials.

Sailboat Builder Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Sailboat Builder salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Sailboat Builder's can make an average annual salary of $30,760, or $15 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $23,750 or $11 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #689 Nationally for All Careers

Highest Education Among Sailboat Builders

  • 0.1%   Doctorate
  • 0.6%   Masters
  • 4.7%   Bachelors
  • 5.9%   Associates
  • 23.3%   College
  • 46.3%   High School
  • 19.1%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Sailboat Builder job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of -600 jobs for a total of 18,600 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a -3.1% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #670 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Sailboat Builders

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Plastics product manufacturing 6,600 -500 -1%
Ship and boat building 5,600 --- ---
Motor vehicle body and trailer manufacturing 1,700 -100 ---

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