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Boatbuilder, Shipwright and Marine Architect
Marine Architects:

Marine architects plan, design and supervise the construction and repair of ships, yachts and pleasure craft. Marine Architects are also known as Marine or Yacht or Boat Designers and Naval Architects. They may also be employed in the offshore industry, such as in the design and construction of oil-rigs.

Marine architects create or adapt the designs for ships, yachts or pleasure craft. After discussions with clients, professionals and government officials and having plans approved, they direct the preparation of drawings and written plans and prepare technical calculations and analyse dimensions of plans.

Marine architects conduct hydrodynamic (water pressures and flows) and structural computer-based testing. Particularly with larger vessels, physical scale modelling, or tank testing, is conducted.

They supervise the building of the craft and also modifications and repairs. Marine architects may also assist boat builders to work out how much the work will cost. Some are involved in new design work and research activities.

Marine architects need to have good design and technical skills, including skill at using computer-aided design (CAD) software, analysing information, mathematical ability and good written and spoken communication skills. They should also have drafting and sketching skills, and a reasonable understanding of boat-handling and/or boat-building requirements.

Marine architects need to know about the strength of boat materials and structures, shipbuilding, and marine standards and safety margins. They need to know about structural engineering, hydrodynamics (water pressures and flows) and aerodynamics (air pressure and flows) and the effect they can have on vessels.

Marine architects work in offices, workshops, on board vessels and at shipbuilding sites. They usually work regular hours, but as they are often self-employed their hours can also be flexible. Marine architects spend time working independently in front of a computer or at a drawing board, but generally work in teams with others such as clients, boat builders, their design teams and suppliers.

Boat builders and shipwrights:

Boat builders and shipwrights are responsible for building, altering, renovating, repairing, and maintaining boats and ships. They are provided with a plan and specifications of the boat to be built or repaired. Alternatively, they are required to make their own designs and sketches.

Boat builders work mainly with wood, firstly selecting the material required for the job e.g. timber, plywood and hardboard, and then marking the design on the wood. They then cut and assemble the various parts to conform to the drawings using tools such as rulers, centre punches, scribes, and squares.

When all the parts have been shaped, they assemble them by making use of various kinds of joints such as dovetailed, dowelled, lapped, and tongued and grooved joints. Steam is used to bend the wood, the parts are then glued together and strengthened using nails, bolts, cleats and screws.

Boat builders need to ensure that boats are waterproof. They apply filters, sealants, and fibreglass and when the construction work is complete, all parts are varnished or painted. They also repair and replace worn-out wooden parts such
as steps and masts. Boat builders and shipwrights can work outdoors on boats that are afloat or in dry- dock, or indoors in a workshop.

Boat builders and shipwrights may work on different types of boats and ships or they may specialize in one type such as fishing boats, motorboats or battleships. They may also specialize in the type of material used such as wood, metal or fibreglass.

Satisfying Aspects
- working with one's hands
- seeing the results of one's work
- being active
- working both indoors and outdoors
- being creative
- solving problems
- making something that lasts

Demanding aspects
- the amount of standing, stooping and lifting
- the possibility of being injured at work
- hot, cold or noisy work environments
- stressful due to deadlines
- not being able to find enough work

- like to work with his hands;
- be interested in working with wood;
- have neat, orderly work habits;
- work with great precision;
- take pride in good craftsmanship
- be able to visualize three-dimensionally
- be able to read plans and specifications and calculate material, tool and process requirements
- be creative and artistic
- practical and accurate
- disciplined and able to work well under pressure
- good communication skills
- able to establish good working relationships with other people, such as clients and boat builders
- knowledge of maths, physics and chemistry

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course
National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course
Grade 9 Certificate for boat builders; some employers prefer higher qualifications

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: None
Recommended Subjects: Mathematics, Physical Sciences

Many people who become marine architects undertake a degree in engineering, followed by further training, either overseas or by correspondence from an overseas university or training institute.

Many employers prefer marine architects to have a boat building qualification. This can be obtained at the Boatbuilding Academy at False Bay.

Marine architects gain many skills on the job. They may also study while working to increase their skills

Boat builder:
There are three ways to qualify as a registered artisan:

1. An apprenticeship is a 4-year contract between company and apprentice, comprising a 12-week theoretical training, which includes 4 subjects at national exam level.

2. A learnership is a structured learning programme that leads to a qualification in a certain field. The learnership programme includes a theoretical and a practical component. It usually takes about a year to complete. The training takes place on-site (on the premises of the organisation). This has the advantage that the learner gets on-the-job experience whilst training.

3. FET colleges offer theoretical training to prospective artisans via the new National Certificate Vocational (NCV). During this 3-year programme (levels 2 to 4), learners complete a school-leaving certificate (this NCV) similar to the
new National Senior Certificate (NSC) in schools. They are also exposed to a practical workshop component.

All learners are required to complete a practical internship under the supervision of an experienced artisan. As an alternative to doing the full qualification, a learner can apply to do a skills programme at a FET College. Skills programmes are short practical hands-on courses.

For more information about qualifications and skills programmes, contact your nearest FET College. FET Colleges are accredited and funded by a SETA (Sector Education and Training Authority) such as MERSETA or CHIETA. They also receive bursary funding through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) for the NCV programme.

Learners must all receive training in occupational safety and first aid, fire-fighting and preventative security measures. Learners study everything about the installation, maintenance and repair of all electrical equipment. They must also become familiar with municipal legislation relevant to electricity supply and consumption.

- Transnet
- SA Navy
- Private shipbuilding firms
- Self-employment, with enough capital to start own shipbuilding operation

South African Boat Builders (SABBC)   
P O Box 26982
Hout Bay, 7872
Tel: (021) 790-3666