Letter from the Chairman of the Board



The Les Cheneaux  Islands area of northern Lake Huron, (Hessel and Cedarville) have long been a home for the beautifully crafted Chris Crafts, Hacker Crafts, Gar Woods and other highly valued wooden boats.

Over the years, several local businesses have built boats or catered to the upkeep and restoration of these valuable crafts.  But, as time rolled on, the craftsmen who built and kept these boats in mint condition, retired and the skill of these people was in danger of being lost.  

Realizing there was not a wooden boat school in the Upper Peninsula, let alone the mid-west portion of the United States, a group of summer and year-round residents began devising a plan to meet the obvious demand for skilled craftsmen that was emerging.  The plan was prepared to open a school, specializing in building, maintenance, repair and restoration skills.

In 2006, Great Lakes Boat Building School opened its doors with practical, industry-relevant, traditional and advanced boat building programs designed to prepare graduates for a successful and meaningful career within the maritime trades.  

The Founders felt it was important that students have a firm grasp of the time-honored techniques that have been used by boat builders for centuries.  This non-profit school, now entering its 11th year of operation, has become a staple in producing graduates who can maintain the wooden boat industry, and has transformed the lives of not only those who graduate, but those that are influenced by them. 

We know that earning a certificate or diploma from Great Lakes Boat Building School is both a personal investment as well as an investment in the future of the art of wooden boat building   Our goal at GLBBS, is to make each student a success story in their own right.  Our staff of seasoned professionals are excited to provide an exceptional hands-on learning experience.  We endeavor to meet each individual’s needs by providing them the tools, both professional and personal, to realize their career goals.

If you are interested in working with your hands, with wood, and aspire to a highly satisfying career, we invite you to visit us and discover what role you might play in the artistic craft of wooden boats.


Kenneth Drenth Ed.D.
Chairman of the Board
Great Lakes Boat Building School

What People Say

Thank you so much for doing such a beautiful job on the
Marilyn Jean. Everyone loves her!

Wayne B., Commissioned Boat Client July 14, 2017

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