About IBTC - A Shipshape Network Regional Hub

The International Boatbuilding Training College (IBTC) Ltd was set up in 1975 and provides training in the skills and knowledge required to repair, conserve and build wooden boats. The emphasis is on traditional techniques and construction, although modern methods including FRP are also covered.  IBTC has an average of 38 students per year spread over four intakes and employs 5 instructors, a stores man and 2 administrators. 

IBTC is a registered training centre delivering City & Guilds 2463 Marine Construction, Systems Engineering and Maintenance as well as a range ofcustomised courses specific to maritime heritage and traditional boatbuilding. The College is operated in the manner of a commercial boatyard to help students get used to being in a working yard and improve their employability prospects. Training is divided between the separate departments of: joinery; boatbuilding; marine plumbing, electrics and engine installation; FRP, machine regulations, HSE, knots & splices; welding, marine engineering & blacksmithing; general maintenance and store management. 

IBTC has worked on a number of significant historic vessels including; Cutty Sark, Gypsy Moth, Maria (the last lateener 1832) HMS Gannet, HMS Warrior, MTB 102,  Lowestoft smack Excelsior, steam drifter Lydia Eva and is highly experienced in understanding and carrying out a range of conservation requirements.  IBTC has also recently been involved in various funding applications for skills training projects including: a Heritage Lottery Fund bid in partnership with the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust and Buckler’s Hard Maritime Museum; a Coastal Communities Fund bid in partnership with National Historic Ships UK; and a European Interreg IVA application requiring detailed work with 6 French organisations and 6 UK organisations with IBTC as lead partner.

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NEWS - Gold Medal Winners!

We are very pleased to announce the artisan garden, ‘Broadland Boatbuilder’s Garden’ at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show has been awarded a Gold Medal!

A little bit about the garden

In July 2013, a 900-year old boat, skilfully built of oak, was discovered on the Norfolk Broads. The International Boat Building Training College in Lowestoft has created a three quarter size replica for this garden. It stands on a small jetty surrounded by plants and trees native to the dykes that crisscross the grazing marshes of this region. Common reed, meadowsweet and purple and yellow loosestrife grow on a bank. In an area of shorter fenland vegetation, southern and early marsh orchid, stately royal fern and the much rarer crested buckler fern provide a backdrop to flowering herbs and vegetables.

The garden draws attention to the scenic waterways, rare flora and fauna and the boat-building skills that are such an important part of the Norfolk Broads.


NEWS - IBTC announce approval of Coastal Communities funding


The International Boatbuilding Training College (IBTC) will be working in partnership with National Historic Ships UK, Excelsior Sailing Trust, Waveney District Council and Tilia Properties to develop and deliver the SEA project. 

The project will support the local community and East Anglian boatbuilders.  Full story.

March 2014


NEWS - Germaine Launched

Gemaine, a 42′ Gaff Yawl built 1882 Nicholson, Gosport, was launched on Tuesday 28 May after a major restoration at the IBTC. She will stay up in Oulton Broad for rigging and sails to be completed and then sail for Douarnenez later this summer.

Item posted May 13








NEWS - Shipshape East Anglia (SEA) holds first networking event in Lowestoft

Over 40 boatbuilders, vessel owners, suppliers and trainees attended the first networking forum for the Shipshape Network in East Anglia, held on Wednesday 01 May 2013 at the International Boatbuilding Training College (IBTC) Ltd, Lowestoft.  They were welcomed to the event by Hannah Cunliffe, Policy & Project Manager of National Historic Ships UK who, with her team, was undertaking a series of visits to historic vessels in the region.

The event marked the launch of new regional pages for Shipshape East Anglia, bringing together 85 historic vessels in the area, with over 50 boatbuilding companies and specialist suppliers.  IBTC has been awarded the status of the first UK Shipshape hub and will provide local support and advice to Network members, offering a regional base and access to on-site facilities.

Regional projects featured at the event included: services and facilities at Excelsior Yard, Lowestoft; the regeneration of the old Whisstocks boatyard in Woodbridge, Suffolk; Stem to Stern Heritage Training and work experience; and Rescue Wooden Boats, the charity set up to restore, maintain and use examples of heritage maritime wooden working craft in North Norfolk.

Item posted May 13


Region news headlines

Wherry yachts Norada and Hathor will be opening to visitors.

Historic Vessels to take part in Heritage Open Days

Read all our news »

Contact us

Shipshape symbol Shipshape Network
Park Row, Greenwich
London SE10 9NF

tel: 0208 312 8558
fax: 0208 312 6632
email: info@shipshapenetwork.org.uk

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