Apprentice Programs Keep Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s Historic Fleet Afloat

The Shipwright Apprentice Program of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Maryland is a vibrant source of sustainability for the Museum's fleet of Bay boats, and a source of education for volunteers like Bud McIntire.

St. Michaels, MD, August 06, 2010 --( On any given day you can wander into the Cheseapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s (CBMM) Boat Yard and learn something new. Caulking, varnishing, replacing planks or steam bending frames are just some of the maritime skills being used at the Museum through two unique apprentice programs. Shipwrights and apprentices working in the Boat Yard are exposed to a broad array of historic vessels and their associated required restoration and maintenance projects.

For apprentice Bud McIntire of Winston-Salem, NC, working in the Museum’s Shipwright Apprentice and Apprentice for the Day Programs since January 2010 has lead him to a new career and passion in his life – something at age 60 he never dreamed he would be doing.

He comments, “I knew I wanted to work with my hands and with wood – I wanted to do something more intuitive and that had more of an aesthetic sense – boat building definitely offers that.”

After McIntire, who had worked 40 years in commercial and residential architecture in Atlanta, GA, became interested in wooden boats, he began to research museums which offered apprentice boat building programs. Although CBMM’s Shipwright Apprentice Program was not funded at the time and McIntire was an inexperienced carpenter, he convinced Rich Scofield, CBMM Boat Yard manager, to allow him to volunteer his time for six months in exchange for learning the trade.

Normally, apprentices in the Museum’s Shipwright Apprentice Program have already successfully completed accredited boat building schools before joining the program. Scofield comments, “The Museum has the world's largest collection of traditional Bay boats. Because these boats are in the water, they require yearly maintenance.” He adds, “Bud was a lifesaver for us during a difficult budget time. He was a quick learner and was wonderful with the public who visit the Boat Yard.”

In addition to preserving historic vessels and passing on traditional maritime skills, the Museum’s working Boat Yard also engages visitors through its Apprentice for a Day Program. Over 17 weekends this past winter and spring, participants built a Rushton 14’ double-ended wooden rowing boat under the guidance of a Museum shipwright. McIntire, who also participated in this program, comments, “I hope I will always keep the joy I experienced in seeing this boat come to life.”

Beyond restoration and public programming, the Museum's Boat Yard is working to pass fading maritime skills on to a new generation of wooden boat builders. Now fully funded again, its Shipwright Apprentice Program provides one year apprenticeships to graduates of boat building schools, so that they can get on-the-job training and experience under the tutelage of master shipwrights. Since CBMM’s apprenticeship program began in 2001, over 30 apprentices have worked in its Boat Yard and 27 of them are still working in the boat building and maritime industries.

Bud McIntire recently left the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum to begin a 10-month boat building program at the Great Lakes Boat Building School in Cedarville, MI. The Museum’s Shipwright Apprentice Program is taking applications for two new positions this year. Applicants should have one year of boat building school or commensurate experience. Full-time apprentices are paid minimum wage with housing available. Interested persons should contact Richard Scofield, Boat Yard Manager at 410-745-4966.

Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum
Tracey Munson
Reach Boat Yard Manager Rich Scofield at