Are the UK’s traditional wooden boatbuilding skills at risk?

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Despite a rich maritime tradition and a vibrant community of craftspeople building a wide range of boats, are our traditional wooden boatbuilding skills in danger of being lost?

Heritage Crafts and the Wooden Boat Builders’ Trade Association are holding a free symposium at Bristol Create Centre and Underfall Yard on Saturday 8 October, 10am-4pm, bringing a group of experts and stakeholders together to ask this question and to consider the case for traditional wooden boatbuilding being added to the Red List of Endangered Crafts, with the generous support of the Pilgrim Trust.

A panel of industry experts will give presentations, participate in a panel discussion and be on hand for questions.  The aim for the day is to engage attendees in discussion and actively consult with all participants. To register for a free place at the event, head to

Photograph: Gail McGarva

Speakers for the day include traditional wooden boatbuilders Gail McGarva and Colin Henwood, Eivind Falk, director of the Norwegian Crafts Institute Håndverksinstituttet, senior conservator at the Windermere Jetty Museum and traditional boatbuilder Stephen Beresford and Will Reed, Principal of the Boat Building Academy in Lyme Regis.

There will also be a tour of Underfall Yard, a historic boatyard in the heart of Bristol’s harbour, which now houses a cluster of separate maritime businesses and boatbuilders around a Trust operated slipway.

Photograph: Gail McGarva