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Working Boatyard

Shipwrights restore historic wooden vessels at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Maryland.
The Museum’s Boatyard creates anew the tradition of a working waterfront. The Museum’s shipwrights and apprentices are a tangible connection to the Chesapeake’s rich story of boat building through:
  • Preservation and maintenance of the Museum’s Floating Fleet of Chesapeake Bay boats and its historic small boat collection
  • A working marine railway for hauling and launching large historic vessels
  • Presence and preservation of visiting traditional wooden vessels
  • Hands-on boatyard education programs

Boatyard staff interact with our visitors, explaining their work and the boats for which the Chesapeake Bay is known. You will also find shipwrights and apprentices demonstrating maritime skills at our festivals and special events.



Shipwright apprentices at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Maryland

Shipwright Apprentice Program

Beyond restoration and public programming, the Museum’s Boatyard is working to pass fading maritime skills on to a new generation of wooden boat builders. Our Apprentice Program provides one year apprenticeships to graduates of boatbuilding schools, so they can get on-the-job training and experience under the tutelage of master shipwrights. In addition to preserving historic vessels and passing on traditional maritime skills, our Boatyard Staff develop programs to engage our visitors.

The Chesapeake Bay shoreline was once home to scores of small boatyards where skilled shipwrights built and maintained hundreds of wooden vessels. These craftsmen not only supported the commercial growth of the Chesapeake, but they also passed along skills that had been refined over hundreds of years. Because most of these yards have vanished, and along with them, the skills and techniques of the builders, there is a deficit of proficient boat builders today.

The Museum’s Shipwright Apprentice Program is on-the-job training in the form of a professional apprenticeship which gives apprentices the opportunity to work on a wide variety of Chesapeake Bay indigenous watercraft. The program provides the skills and experience of a working boatyard and bridges the gap for those coming out of wooden boat building schools and programs. The majority of apprentices completing the Museum’s Shipwright Apprentice Program have taken jobs in the boat building or maritime industries, working in commercial shipbuilding yards or small boat yards around the Bay. Others have become shipwrights on large vessel construction projects and several are working in the maritime museum industry.


The Boat Shop at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Maryland.
Requirements, Compensation & Application
Successful completion of an accredited boat building school is preferred, but applicants with related experience will be considered. Though not required, it is strongly suggested that applicants visit the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum campus.

Download: Shipwright Apprentice Application

Mail or fax your completed application to:

Michael Gorman, Boatyard Manager
213 N. Talbot Street
St. Michaels, MD 21663-0636
Phone: 410-745-4968
Fax: 410-745-6088