Is the Boat Shop a boat-building school?
We are not a school. Although we do have a curriculum, we do not specifically train each apprentice to be a professional boatbuilder.
We are, however, a learning opportunity. A motivated apprentice has available to them the resources and opportunities to learn a good deal about building a small wooden boat, and many other skills as well. Our apprentices learn in proportion to the effort they put in.
We are not here just to learn about boats. Boatbuilding is a key vehicle for our work of building greater understanding and compassion for ourselves and others. We spend dedicated time each day learning about ourselves and each other, and sometimes pushing our personal edges. We also regularly do community work like cooking, cleaning, and maintaining our campus.
Is it a job?
Apprenticeship is also a job. Apprentices are expected to work hard to paint, build, and repair boats for our customers, to support our campus community through chores and cooking, and our neighbors through service work projects. We like to take joy in our work, and – as in any job – there may be moments of tedium as well as moments of learning and excitement.
The work that we do connects us to our wide circle of customers and to the broader community we are a part of. It also provides necessary income to support our apprenticeship program.
What is the spiritual orientation of the Boat Shop?
The Carpenter’s Boat Shop was founded on the simple Christian (and somewhat universal) ideal of loving yourself and your neighbor, especially your neighbor in need. You certainly do not need to be a Christian to attend the Boat Shop. We welcome people of all faiths and no faith. Rather than being overtly religious, the Boat Shop is deeply spiritual in its nature as we encourage all in our community to seek out and make meaning in their lives. We do offer grace (gratitude) before all meals and share together in Circle once a week. Circle time consists of group singing, silence, and talking together about topics that matter.
Another way that we engage spiritually is through Morning Practices. Each weekday before breakfast we gather for half an hour of mindful movement and meditation. We see mindfulness as a doorway into ourselves, which is in turn a doorway into what is greater than each of us.
Is the Boat Shop an intentional community?
While we live and work together as a community, there are some key differences between the Boat Shop and some forms of intentional communities. There are some decisions we make together, often at our weekly Family Meeting, while others are made at the organizational level by staff and our board of directors. Although not all matters are ultimately decided by apprentices, we do welcome questions and input.
What are the expectations of apprentices?
We expect apprentices to make a commitment to engaging fully in the program for their four months. We have specific commitments and expectations which are named in our Terms of Apprenticeship agreement. Please review our Terms carefully before considering applying to be an apprentice.
What does it cost to apprentice at the Boat Shop?
While the 4-month apprenticeship is tuition-free, and includes room and board, apprentices should plan for certain personal expenses not covered by the program. Apprentices need to cover the expenses of personal hygiene products, car for those who bring one, phone, health insurance, certain entertainment, etc.
Apprenticeship can be thought of as a scholarship, with the basic costs covered by the generosity of our many donors and income from the work of our shops.
Could I hold down a part-time job while I am an apprentice?
No. The apprenticeship program schedule is too rigorous for any apprentice to hold down a part-time job at the same time. Do note, however, that there are often opportunities for apprentices to make a bit of pocket money doing odd jobs for those in our local community who need a bit of extra help and are able to pay for this work.
What are the boating opportunities?
We encourage all of our apprentices to learn how to safely use a variety of fresh and saltwater craft for paddling, rowing, and sailing. On fair weather days in the fall and in the late spring, apprentices are welcome to go paddling canoes, sailing, or rowing after hours. PFDs (life jackets) are provided for all apprentices and must be worn upon arriving at the waterfront.
What kind of boats does the shop work on?
Our standard new boat builds are the 9’6″ and 11′ Monhegan Skiff, both plywood-sided and cedar lapstrake models. In the Restoration Shop we may store and care for a wide variety of small craft. Apprentices split their time between restoration and new construction.
What are the living arrangements like?
Our living quarters are centered in two historic farmhouses. All apprentices have their own modest single rooms with a shared bathroom. The rooms come with basic furnishings as well as all necessary towels and linens.
Do I have to live on campus to attend to be an apprentice?
No, we welcome commuters to our community. We would want commuters to attend as many meals as possible and commit to shop time and community activities and events.
May I bring my pet with me?
No. We are unable to accommodate apprentices or guests with pets.
Are dietary restrictions accommodated in the meal planning?
We do our very best to accommodate all dietary restrictions, within the limitations of our budget. It is important, however, for applicants and guests to give us advanced notice of any needs in order for our house manager to have necessary food items on hand.
May I use the shop for personal projects after work hours?
After our apprentices have completed the necessary training on the use and safety of our power machinery, they are encouraged to make use of the work shops after work hours and on the weekends. We have some project wood available, and we provide contacts for some local lumber suppliers.
What other tasks will be required of me while at the Boat Shop?
Apprentices are expected to participate in all aspects of community life at the Boat Shop. These include regular shifts preparing and cleaning up after meals, weekly campus chores, periodic community service opportunities, campus maintenance tasks, hauling and splitting firewood, and certain community recreational activities.
What is Pemaquid like? What is there to do nearby?
Pemaquid is both a fishing community as well as a major destination for tourists and summer residents. The population is majority white with little ethnic or racial diversity. A growing number of former apprentices have settled on or near the Pemaquid Peninsula.
The Pemaquid Peninsula and surrounding midcoast area are full of scenic locations (most notably the Pemaquid Point Light House) and plenty of outdoor recreational opportunities. Hiking trails are almost too numerous to count. The nearest town, Damariscotta, where one can find most basic services and a variety of shopping, restaurants, and even a movie theater, is 10 miles away. The Boat Shop is 50 minutes from both Brunswick and Rockland, two towns that offer a number of cultural options. Portland, the largest city in Maine, is one hour and fifteen minutes away.