Bosun School

There is nothing better than real sea time under sail to gain experience and the skills of a mariner. But sometimes on these hard working ships there is little time to focus on particular advanced skills, such as wire work and sailmaking. And rarely does the opportunity roll around to actually help rig a ship from the keel up or lay a sail out with a professional sailmaker.

Advance your Skills without the Distractions of the Sea

The purpose of the Picton Castle’s Bosun School is to provide an opportunity to young dedicated mariners to advance their skills in a concentrated fashion without the natural demands and distractions of being underway at sea. Conducted by Captain Daniel Moreland, the crew of the Picton Castle and special guest instructors, the Bosun School allows you to significantly advance your skill level, making your chances at the best berths in good ships of your choice all the more likely. Once signed aboard your next ship you will have that much more to offer and will be a greater contributor to helping the ship on her mission – which is, after all, what being crew is all about.

Build Skills, Tools and your Résumé

bosuns chairSling your sea bag over the rail and join us for the next running of this highly valuable, unique offering. This particular session of the Bosun School will focus on small boat handling under sail, power and oar; sailing boats of various rigs including a small schooner; sail theory and practice; rigging; sending yards down and crossing yards the safe, efficient and traditional way without using a crane; advanced rope-work; wire seizings; wire splicing; basic sailmaking and sail repair; worming, parceling and serving; wooden boat repair and new construction; first-class varnish work; tar and oil mixtures; proper bosun chair work and more!

Dip your arms in Stockholm Tar, learn tons, have fun, flesh out your resume, become well acquainted with the seaport's excellent pubs, and meet marine artisans and craftspeople with generations of ship work behind them. When you join your next vessel, you’ll take with you an enriched set of skills and actual tools you made yourself.

Enrollment is limited

This program is designed for people preparing for a career at sea with previous experience in traditional vessels or who have sailed in ships and vessels of some kind as either a student or crew member.

Upon completion of the course you will receive a certificate of completion from the program and a letter of recommendation from the Bosun School.

Bosun School 2020 

Here on Lunenburg’s working waterfront, with the Picton Castle’s Voyage to the South Pacific on hold, we want to do something worthwhile and interesting. So, we are looking to do a modified short and sweet summertime Bosun School in July and August with a big emphasis on small boat sailing and handling. Summer time on Lunenburg Harbour, what a perfect time to “mess about in boats!”

As always the emphasis will be on building up nautical hand skills for all those that can join. Skills such as ropework, splicing and knots, rigging work like wire splicing, parcelling and serving wire rigging, how to make good varnish work, ship and boat caulking and getting all kinds of boats ready for the water then, of course, sailing them lots!  We want to keep the excellent energy of this program going, give folks a chance to have a ship experience and learn a lot of marine skills without going to sea. It would be a shame not to see lots of activity on and near the ship at our wharf on this fine summer approaching swiftly. Lots of interesting rigging projects to do, including sending some yards and a topmast back up, lots of great small boat sailing in all our many small craft. Keeps things ticking over and lived in.

This will do some material good for the ship, for all the boats and our wharf and warehouse. It is best if all these things get used and ‘lived in’ so to speak. And it is only right to make the waterfront, the ship and boats accessible in the nice summertime days in Lunenburg Harbour. Messing about in boats on a working waterfront at our wharf and at the venerable cool old Dory Shop is just the best thing. A combination of teaching, learning, practice and service making a ship better, the seafarers’ creed. We figure that we will start early in the day with projects on the ship, boats and wharf fitting out the boats and learning skills used on ships, then mid-afternoon get out in boats to sail around the harbour, weather permitting. Wednesday evenings we usually see the Hump Cup craft sailing around. This is spontaneous Wednesday regatta of lots of boats sailing just for fun is a great tradition in our harbour.

We have lots of boats to sail, row and motor around in. We have Dory Shop-built motor skiffs and dories, a Bequia “two bow” boat called No Monkey, South Pacific atoll fishing/copra sloops Karl and Sydney rebuilt by former crew and Bosun School gangs, our faithful 23’ long-boat Monomoy which has ranged all over South Pacific lagoons, and a 20 foot deep-sea fishing boat Kousteau from near Madagascar. We have the exquisite small schooner Calanova for those more advanced and the fine modern fiberglass sloop Bosun to learn on, practice and have a good time. These boats run the gamut of types and we learn different things from each one. Some can be worked by one person, some need a crew, all broaden our abilities in boats.

To make this program as accessible as possible there will be no charge. Due to COVID-19 safety requirements there may be geographical restrictions to who may participate. For now this will be limited to ten participants. This could change with the number expanding, hopefully as we get closer. If you are interested, get in touch with us soon.

This Bosun School will be set up within the public health requirements in place in Canada and in the province of Nova Scotia. We will follow all recommended guidelines and restrictions designed to keep us all healthy.

- Captain Daniel Moreland

Dates and Details

sewing grommetThe next session of the Bosun School will run from July 20 to August 28, 2020 at Picton Castle's home base in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada.  

There is no fee for this upcoming session of the Bosun School.  

Applications are accepted from mariners of all nationalities, but current travel restrictions may prevent those from outside of Canada from attending.  For those requiring a visa to enter Canada, only a temporary resident visa is required, not a student visa. 

In order to apply, please send your CV and a letter to that tells us more about you, your seagoing experience and your motivation for wanting to become a Bosun School student.  For more information on the School, please call us at +1 902 634 9984 or send us an email.    

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