Hometown Tourist: Great Lakes Boat Building School

The Great Lakes Boat Building School is well known for courses in the traditional and professional wooden boat building, but for this week’s Hometown Tourist we get a peek at one of their many workshops where even a beginner can learn to build their own boat.

“You can build your own boat in a week, you can take some artisan classes and really just get to enjoy the area here,” said Ryan Hinnen, Director of Administration. 

 “I read about it about 15 years ago and it’s been on my bucket list for a while so this is the year that we did it,” says participant Jeff Leland.

From kayaks, sailboats and rowboats to artisan paddles, a workshop here at the Great Lakes Boat Building School takes you from sandpaper, to the sandy beach, to hit the water.

“It’s a lot of work its hard work but it’s really gratifying at the end of the week to be able to put your own boat on a trailer and take it home with you,” said Hinnen.

Here, it doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner, or a seasoned pro, you’re guided through the whole process.

It’s a place to create memories like Jeff is with his granddaughter Hannah, and people come from all over the country to participate.

“We thoroughly enjoy building together, it’s really fun, imp barking out orders, she is barking out orders, and he’s following,” said Jeff. 

Learn how to turn wood, make a canoe paddle or forge metal in one of their shorter classes, or spend a week here making a boat. Regardless, it will be a lesson and a memory all in one.

“You’re building a boat so you’ve got all those memories from building a boat maybe with your father, your grandfather, your grandchildren, your son, your daughter and then you have that boat to go out on the water and make even more memories so it’s absolutely gratifying,” noted Hinnen.

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