top of page
Wide angle view of new fishing boat on the water in Nova Scotia


Boat Builders construct and repair commercial and recreational boats in composites, metal, or wood—and install a variety of boat systems. Sailboats, workboats, ferries, motorboats, fishing name it, a boatbuilder can build it. Most of our members specialize in certain types of boats but all possess broad knowledge about boat design and construction.These apprenticeship programs are a team effort involving apprentices, certified journeypersons and mentors, employers, the NSBA and the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency.

Boat Builder Apprenticeship:
Key Facts

  • Primarily on-the-job training combined with self-directed learning

  • Training workbooks licensed from New Zealand’s Marine and Specialised Technologies Academy; the NZ Boat Builder apprenticeship program has been recognized internationally for its quality

  • Apprentices choose from one of 3 material streams: wood, metal, and fibreglass/composites. All apprentices complete some common units in addition to stream-specific units and elective units. 

  • 5,400 hours, which equals about 3 years full-time

  • Competency-based

  • No “block release” (weeks of technical training done away from the worksite)

  • No written exams

  • See the full scope of the trade in the Boat Builder Curriculum Standard on the NS Apprenticeship Agency website

Pathways to Certification:


Trade Qualifier




Learn about the Boat Builder trade to ensure it is right for you; you can  contact the NSBA’s Training and Certification Coordinator to learn more


If you aren’t already employed in the industry, get a job with a company that has a certified Boat Builder on their team; the NSBA can help direct you to potential employers or you can check our directory for who has certified Boat Builders on their team.


With your employer’s approval, contact the NSBA to get started with your apprenticeship including registration with the NSAA, getting an orientation and logbook, and getting your initial training materials.


Choose your material stream: composites (fibre-reinforced plastic), metal, or wood.


Work through the training units and required competencies under the guidance of a qualified journeyperson  and the NSBA’s training staff.


Keep a record of your progress in your logbook as you go. The NSBA’s training staff will review this with you and your mentor during periodic visits and will report your progress to the NSAA.


Celebrate your accomplishments along the way and be proud of your growth.


Complete your apprenticeship and get a Certificate of Qualification as a newly certified Boat Builder.


Apply for an apprenticeship completion award ($2000).

BB Apprenticeship


If you have been working as a boat builder for at least 9,450 hours* and you are interested in receiving your Nova Scotia Boat Builder Certificate of Qualification to become a Certified Journeyperson, you may be eligible to become certified as a Trade Qualifier (TQ) rather than through an apprenticeship pathway.

*1 year = approximately 2000 hours at 40 hours/week for 50 weeks/year]

The following list suggests you contact the NSBA when you have your documentation ready, but you can contact us any time if you have questions or need help working through the steps.


Review the Boat Builder Curriculum Standard to ensure you have the required trade competencies.


Assemble documentation proving you have the required amount of hours practicing in the trade. If you need help, such as getting a template letter for your current and/or previous employer(s) to fill out, contact the NSBA’s Training and Certification Coordinator at


Prepare two reference letters from people who are in a position to support your application to be certified as a Trade Qualifier. They should be familiar with the content of the Boat Builder trade and familiar with your work in the trade. The NSAA provides letter templates in its Trade Qualifier Guidelines and Process document Please note that there is no written exam for the Boat Builder trade so some parts of this document will not apply.

BB Trade Certification


Once it is determined that you have all the trade competencies and your paperwork is ready, contact the NSBA’s Training and Certification Coordinator at Our Coordinator will help you with the Trade Qualifier(TQ) application to NSAA and schedule a prior learning assessment and recognition (PLAR) meeting. The NSBA will arrange people for the assessment, including a technical assessor and a representative from the NSAA. We recommend allowing a half day for the assessment.


Submit your TQ application and the application fee of $740.77 to the NSAA. The NSBA can help you with the application form.

NSBA Logo _from them_original.png
bottom of page