Bosun School

Announcing Bosun School Focused on Rigging from October to December 2021 and Bosun School Focused on Sailmaking from February to April 2022

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 and special guest instructors, the Bosun School allows you to significantly advance your skill level. 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 and Tools 

Join us for the next running of this highly valuable, unique offering. Learning at Bosun School is a hands-on experience. Topics will be introduced by lecture or demonstration, followed by extensive opportunities for practice. Often after you've tried it a few times, a second demonstration will follow so you can watch more closely with the background knowledge you've gained by actually practicing the skill yourself. As Captain Moreland likes to say, "practice makes permanent."

Dip your arms in Stockholm Tar, learn tons, have fun, become well acquainted with the excellent seaport of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, 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 who have sailed in ships or boats of some kind as either a student, trainee or crew member.  Students should arrive with some knowledge of what it means to be part of the team that sails a vessel.  

The lessons you learn at Bosun School will provide skills you can carry forward with you to your own boat or as crew on any vessel.  

Bosun School Sessions in Autumn 2021 and Winter 2022

We are pleased to announce two upcoming sessions of the Bosun School, one focused on rigging in the autumn of 2021 and one focused on sailmaking in the winter of 2022. Both sessions will take place in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Bosun School is designed to help up-and-coming mariners enhance their hands-on seamanship skills. Like our previous ten Bosun School sessions, these two upcoming sessions will cover a wide variety of topics. While there will be a range of skills pursued in these two upcoming sessions there will be an emphasis on a particular area of skills.

 From Tuesday October 5 to Friday December 3, 2021, develop your rigging skills while rigging in a traditional sailing vessel. You'll learn how to conduct a rig inspection, identify which parts need to be repaired or replaced, and how to fix or make new parts. You'll also learn to replace ratlines, send up topmasts, cross yards without the use of a crane, work aloft safely, worm, parcel and serve, make fibre seizings, make wire seizings, make fibre splices, make wire splices, handle lines under strain, work with different types of wire, fabricate new wire and rope rigging, and more. You will also earn a certification in the fundamentals of rigging.

sewing grommetFrom Monday February 14 to Friday April 1, 2022, focus on sailmaking skills, both new sail construction and sail repair. Learn a variety of stitching techniques, both by hand and by machine, using a variety of materials, both natural and synthetic. You'll learn sail repair, from quick and dirty to loft-quality, and when which is the right approach. You'll learn how to read diagrams and actually lay out new sails, and get hands-on practice with making grommets, roping, sewing tabling and corner patches, and the various knots, splices and seizings used in sailmaking.

Both of these sessions of Bosun School will be instructed by Captain Daniel Moreland, captain of the sail training ship Picton Castle and holder of an Unlimited Master in Steam, Motor and Sail license. Captain Moreland has dedicated his working seafaring life to the preservation, enhancement and application of these skills in traditional sailing vessels, and passing them on to the next generation of sailors.

Dates and Details

Bosun School is open to anyone who has some sailing or boating experience and wants to expand their skill set, whether that's for use in their own personal vessel or in their career at sea. Make no mistake, Bosun School is a physical, hands-on experience and students must be in good health and capable of participating fully. Students will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (or provide proof of a medical exemption). Applications are welcome from candidates of all nationalities. We expect that by early September, Canada's border will open to fully vaccinated visitors from around the world.

Bosun School - Rigging - Tuesday October 5 to Friday December 3, 2021

Bosun School - Sailmaking - Monday February 14 to Friday April 1, 2022

The fee for the autumn 2021 Bosun School focused on rigging is $5,000 Canadian dollars, plus HST (total $5,750 Canadian dollars). The fee for the winter 2022 Bosun School focused on sailmaking is $4,000 Canadian dollars, plus HST (total $4,600 Canadian dollars). Using the exchange rate on August 24, 2021, the equivalent in US dollars, for the full amount including the tax, is about $4,500 USD for the autumn 2021 Bosun School and $3,600 USD for the winter 2022 Bosun School. The fee includes accommodations, food, instruction and all course materials. Scholarship assistance is available, we encourage you to contact us at for more information.

You can apply by sending your CV/resume that includes any sailing/boating experience you have, along witha cover letter that tells us more about you and why you want to join this particular session of the Bosun School to

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.

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