“As a yacht designer, I could accomplish that in a field that fascinated me. The Landing School’s yacht design program gave me the skills to get my first design job.”

Bruce Johnson
Chief Designer at Sparkman and Stephens

Yacht Design is all about creating a fluid, dynamic, artful watercraft with nothing more than a computer. In this program, you’ll obtain the knowledge and skills that will enable you to craft some of the finest boats in the world. Just ask Aaron Crawford, COO of Sabre Yachts and a 1993 Landing School graduate.

The Yacht Design curriculum is designed to provide students with a structured learning environment in which they can become knowledgeable and proficient in the practical application of the fundamental principles of small craft naval architecture, design, strength, construction and systems and develop the skills to communicate effectively with other industry professionals by verbal, written and graphical means


Career Options for Graduates
Most graduates of the program find employment in the offices of independent design companies and the engineering departments of production and custom boat builders. Other opportunities include sail design, technical sales and brokerage and project management. Graduates are working all over the world. Companies where Yacht Design program graduates work include:

  • Back Cove Yachts
  • Brunswick Boat Group
  • Elliot Bay Design Group
  • Glosten Associates
  • Sparkman & Stephens
  • Stephens Waring Yacht Design
  • The Hinckley Company

For more information about Marine Industry Careers and Landing School employment statistics, click here.

Program Description
The Yacht Design Program teaches the technical design process for both power- and sailboats from concept through preliminary design. While the curriculum is engineering-based, the aesthetic aspects of yacht design are also an important element. The fundamentals of hydrostatics and hydrodynamics form the basis for hullform design. The keels and rudders, rigs, engines, propellers, ergonomics and aesthetics are all considered in the development of interior arrangements, outboard profiles and deck plans.

Structural design and layout is founded on the fundamentals of engineering statics, strength of materials and structural mechanics within industry standards. Students also study system design and installation including engines, shafts, steering systems, tanks, piping, ventilation and electrical systems.

Students begin the first quarter of the program employing manual drafting skills in order to gain appreciation for drawing appearance and layout. The remainder of the year they use CAD software using a networked PC at each student’s workstation. Students use industry-standard software for calculations, two-dimensional drafting, three-dimensional hull fairing and general three-dimensional modeling.

Throughout the year the scope of the studies is supported and extended by lectures by industry experts, field trips and reviews of case studies on business practices and client relations. Students spend much of their time preparing preliminary designs for safe and practical small craft. As a final project, each student prepares a complete set of plans and calculations covering all aspects of the design for his or her own choice of a sailboat, powerboat or commercial craft. A student’s designs comprise a portfolio that he or she may use to demonstrate his or her skills and experience when seeking employment.

The Yacht Design Program is very demanding. The material covered in a school year usually takes at least two academic years to complete at other institutions. Students devote a substantial amount of time outside of lab and lecture periods to completing school assignments and projects.

For an outline of the syllabus, design projects and more please view our Academic Catalog.

AdmissionsSouthampton Solent University Partnership
The Yacht Design Program at The Landing School is part of an articulation agreement with Southampton Solent University in the United Kingdom. Southampton Solent University offers one of only two Bachelor’s degrees in Small Craft Design available in the world, the Bachelor of Engineering in Yacht Design and Production (Hons). Graduates of the Design Program who achieve a final GPA of 2.4 or better are entitled to advanced placement on this prestigious degree program, meaning that they can complete a Bachelor’s degree in a total of three years. Federal financial aid is available to qualified students who chose to take advantage of this opportunity. For more please click here.


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