Northwest Maritime Center instructor Joel Arrington stands in his living room with a completed test build of the Portage Pram boat kit that his students will be constructing in the online course starting on April 20. (Kate Philbrick)

Northwest Maritime Center instructor Joel Arrington stands in his living room with a completed test build of the Portage Pram boat kit that his students will be constructing in the online course starting on April 20. (Kate Philbrick)

Northwest Maritime Center offering online boat-building course

Materials shipped to home; taught through Google Hangouts

PORT TOWNSEND — The Northwest Maritime Center has opened registration on a new wooden boat building class, one that will be taught online.

Students will be mailed kits and the instructor will teach the course remotely through Google Hangouts as the instructor builds the Portage Pram boat kit over the course of five days.

The class will be from noon to 4 p.m. daily starting Monday, April 20.

The last day to order a kit is Friday, organizers said.

The class costs $1,039 plus $99 for shipping and includes access to the interactive instruction portal, the Pram kit, System Three Silvertip epoxy, wood flour filler, epoxy pumps, zip ties, fiberglass cloth, gloves, cups, mixing sticks, oarlock sockets and bronze oarlocks, according to the course description.

For local residents, arrangements can be made for them to pick up the kit directly and not have to pay the shipping fee, said instructor Joel Arrington.

Oars will need to be purchased separately.

“As a member of this online classroom you’ll be able to ask questions, see the details up close, verify your progress and get some encouragement and any necessary corrections,” the course description said.

“In the end you’ll own a lovely little boat you and your family can use to get out on the water—either together, or to escape being together.”

Things students will need for the class include a 9-foot-by-6-foot space, a tablet/phone/computer with a camera and internet connection, and woodworking tools, according to the course description.

As of Friday, the class had sold five of the eight kits and organizers hoped to fill all eight spots, Arrington said.

This will be the first boat building course that Arrington has taught, being recently added to the maritime center’s staff and having graduated from the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building in September 2019.

Arrington does have experience instructing, however, having been a professional fly-fisherman and instructor and teaching upwards of 3,000 people over the years, he said.

“This will be a new experience for me,” Arrington said. “I enjoy building boats, so I’m looking forward to building another and getting to share that experience with other people in this strange time we live in.”

Over the next few weeks, Arrington hopes to work out technical difficulties that the class could face and also just completed a test build of one of the kits, he said.

“I think I’ve made a clean curriculum,” Arrington said. “I think it’s a great, unique opportunity for people.

“It’s also a great launching point for us to launch future online offerings.”

For more information and to sign up to purchase a kit and for the course, and also to sign up to watch the live-stream of the course for free (but not participate in the class), people can go to www.tinyurl.com/PDN-OnlineBoatBuilding.

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Jefferson County reporter Zach Jablonski can be reached at [email protected].

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