Quest Magazine - Home

One man’s transition to traditional boat building

One man’s transition to traditional boat building


01 Jan, 2018

Geoff Bowker tells us how the courses he took at Lyme Regis-based Boat Building Academy set him on course for a successful new career …

‘Having had a life around boats of all shapes and sizes, and with my Royal Navy (RN) commission coming to its natural end after 35 years, I was seeking a second career. I had a lifelong passion for woodworking and found myself at the Boat Building Academy at Lyme Regis, first on the one-week Traditional Boatbuilding course, using some resettlement allowance, and then on the 38-week Boat Building, Maintenance and Support course (this has now been extended into a 40-week course). I graduated in summer 2015 with a City & Guilds 2463 level 3 Diploma in Marine Construction, Systems Engineering and Maintenance, as well as the industry-wide recognised Boat Building Academy Certificate.

‘At the end of the course I found a workshop, amassed tools (old, antique hand tools are often better quality than new ones), arranged appropriate insurance and had some business cards printed. I started building an 8ft wooden boat for my own experience, which should have taken three to four months to complete. However, the distributed business cards and conversations with boat owners and marina operators generated work and the dinghy build stretched into a couple of years. Most of the jobs were carrying out repairs and restoration on wooden boats, both in my workshop and in local boat yards. My most interesting job was probably designing, making and installing a set of teak cockpit furniture in a fibreglass pleasure boat.

‘The BBA course was an extraordinary experience. It has given me a new career in wooden boats and woodworking, which I love.’

Get in touch

01297 445545

Other Stories

A force for good COVER STORY
10 Jan, 2020
Thanks to additional funding received in 2019, Scotty’s Little Soldiers is now able to provide an extra layer of...
Networking for knowledge ARTICLES
19 Dec, 2019
The word ‘networking’ provokes a Marmite-like response: people either relish every opportunity or shy away from it...

Related Articles

Case Studies See all

Jamie Fanneran - Open IT
Jamie Fanneran - Open IT
Final Rank:
Years Served:
15 Years

Jamie Fanneran, 31, served in the Royal Signals, specialising as a Communications Systems Operator, before leaving the Services in January 2016 ‘to settle my family in a fixed location, to give my...

Read more »
Tiffany Hemming
Tiffany Hemming

Tiffany joined the Territorial Army in 1997, moving to the Regular Army in 2000 until she left the Armed Forces in October 2017. Her final role was overseeing the procurement of medical equipment and...

Read more »