The Carpenter’s Boat Shop is an open and affirming community designed around a free 9-month apprenticeship program committed to traditional wooden boatbuilding, seamanship, and service. The Boat Shop was founded in 1979 by Robert and Ruth Ives (a UCC minister and school teacher, respectively) with the goal of creating a community nexus of worship, service and craft. The Boat Shop was initially housed in a converted chicken barn and has since evolved into a gorgeous campus on twenty five acres of land along the Pemaquid River in Maine. For decades, The Carpenter’s Boat Shop has provided a harbor for people from around the country who are navigating the seas of transition from a variety of life circumstances, including: from college to career, aimlessness to new directions, prison to society, marriage to single-hood, or work to retirement. 

getting ready to flip catspaw dinghy in the shop

poem engraved on boatshop plaque

Regardless of age, race, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender idenity or sexual orientation, The Carpenter’s Boat Shop attracts those willing to work hard, live simply, and share in work and life with one’s community. In our daily life, we strive to use the Rule of St. Benedict as a way to organize activities of the day and to seek the balance contained in the seven principles of work, worship, study, service, recreation, hospitality, and prayer. We adopt work and living practices that foster sustainability, an appreciation of the natural environment, and an opportunity to explore one’s personal faith through reading, study, and discussion. Seamanship classes lead to community recreation that allow apprentices to explore the rugged Maine coastline in a variety of wooden vessels built or restored by members of the Boat Shop community.

In the end, The Carpenter’s Boat Shop isn’t just about boats; its about extending the care that one takes building boats to oneself and to others. It’s about learning how to be better prepared for one’s life journey.