Family Boat Building

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Statement Concerning Coronavirus (COVID-19):

NH Sea Grant continues to monitor the latest information and guidance available from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), State of New Hampshire, University of New Hampshire, and local communities regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. We acknowledge that the situation is dynamic and evolving. Out of an abundance of caution, our staff are working to modify, postpone, and in some cases cancel events. When possible, we will be transitioning to virtual events (via Zoom or another online platform). The health and safety of our staff and the many members of our NH communities that participate in our programs is most important. We appreciate your understanding and patience during this uncertain time. 

Unfortuantely, with the close contact involved in instructing and building the Oyster River Cat, we are unable to run this program in May 2021. You may still fill out the application for May 2022. We will notify all interested families when we resume boat building operations. Thank you for your interest.

Your family can build this wonderful sailboat in just 3 days. Join us!

Family Boat Building Video

Boat Building Timeline

Application Period: Now accepting applications for Family Boat Building in May 2022!

Apply for 2022

Cost of Program: $2,100. Cost includes all materials, instruction, and assistance required to build your own a 12ft Oyster River Cat sailboat.

Build Dates: TBA, Friday through Sunday, typically the third weekend in May. 

Mandatory Intro Session: Thursday evening before the build begins.


Family boat building is grounded in the belief that families and multi-generational groups will bond and grow together by completing a grand project together. In the past thirteen years, we have helped 72 families get on the water together and enjoy the experience of a lifetime. Participating families experience the joy and pride of watching a pile of lumber grow into a beautiful and useful boat through their own efforts. In the process, they grow as a family while they:

  • Develop woodworking and teamwork skills and
  • Learn about our marine heritage and the natural resources of our coastal and estuarine environment

In the spring of 2022, we will build the Oyster River Cat, a 12' sailboat. A professionally made sail is included. The marine plywood hull has a 5' beam that easily carries two adults or even three in light wind. She is equally adept as a row boat for calm days at the lake.

Age requirements: Each family must include at least one child age 12 or older. This program is not ideal for children younger than age 12 due to the attention span and physical work required; however exceptions have been made for eager, mature 10 and 11-year-olds. Multi-generational families, extended families, and single parents are encouraged to apply.

Questions? If you would like more information or want to be considered as a participant, please contact:

Dari Christenson
Marine Education Program Manager
NH Sea Grant & UNH Cooperative Extension
Dari.Christenson@unh.edu
(603) 862-6701

If not all kits are claimed by families, the program will allow non-family groups to build a boat. If interested, please contact michelle.lemos@unh.edu