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Five questions with a newly certified Boat Builder

Dayna Nelder of Big Pond Boat Shop has just been certified as a Boat Builder. To get certified, an apprentice must choose a material to specialize in—wood, composite or metal—and complete 5,400 hours of work demonstrating various building skills. There are no written exams; certification is complete after an oral exam.

NSBA caught up with Dayna recently to chat about her trade.

How does it feel to finally finish and be certified?

Strange. Even though I have completed the process and feel competent, there is still so much to learn.

Which stream did you specialize in?

I specialized in wooden boat building.

How long have you been a Boat Builder? How long do you plan to be one?

I believe I began the apprenticeship in 2016, but it was never my sole employment. I always had other jobs in the marine industry but boat building was always there. As long as there is a project I’ll be [a Boat Builder] forever.

What was a challenging part of the process?

The ebb and flow of the industry. You can be very busy for an entire year and then the next you are waiting for the next project to come. There is always something, but you always want the big job. We call it "feast or famine."

What was one fun part of the process?

Sea trials! I am the lucky one to have the first crack at the boats we build.

Anything else you’d like to say about being a Boat Builder?

One of the reasons I became a Boat Builder is because of the process. You start with drawings and materials, and you slowly bring it to life.

To learn more, visit our Boat Builder certification page, the NS Apprenticeship Agency's Boat Builder curriculum standard or email NSBA's Training and Certification coordinator Richard Lindala at


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