“The Landing” is a short stretch of the Kennebunk River where The Landing School is located. It was once an internationally famous shipbuilding area and the home of more than 20 shipbuilding firms dating back to the 1600's. As the economic effects of the Great Depression descended over the country in the early 20th century, the shipbuilding business throughout Maine began to dwindle. In 1942, The Landing hosted its last official launching of a commercial vessel, a police cruiser.
In December of 1978, three and a half decades later, the first class of students at The Landing School launched a Chamberlain dory-skiff, reviving the boat building trade along The Landing. The first year hosted nine students who used a cow barn as a classroom taught by The School’s founders John Burgess and Cricket Tupper. They built two dories and two 18-foot sailboats as the curriculum. In 1979, school administrators set out to fill a critical void in the industry where well-trained tradespeople were in high demand. This objective spurred the creation of the Yacht Design Program. This program provided the global marine industry with a source of new designers trained specifically in the techniques and aesthetics of yacht and commercial boat design.
In 1987, The Landing School became the first school of its type to be accredited by The Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC), which is listed by the United States Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency under the provisions of Chapter 33, Title 38, U.S. Code and subsequent legislation.
Two decades later, boatyards were struggling with a shortage of trained marine systems technicians. So in September 1999, The Landing School once again responded to the industry’s need by launching the Marine Systems Program. At the same time, The School began a multi-year aggressive growth plan that resulted in a large addition that was completed in 2007. The addition provided room for the curriculum to expand again with the creation of the Composite Boat Building Program.
Today, each of The Landing School’s ten-month-long programs culminates in a diploma for students who successfully complete their courses within the high standards set by the faculty.
In 2009, the State of Maine Department of Education and The School’s accrediting agency, ACCSC, approved The Landing School as a degree-granting institution. A student who successfully completes two technical programs and 15 credit-hours of general education courses is eligible to receive an Associate’s degree. The Landing School has been recognized by ACCSC as a 2014 ACCSC School of Distinction / ACCSC School of Excellence.
Education from The Landing School reinforces and preserves traditional design and construction methods while advancing the art of boat building, design and maintenance through the integration of modern techniques and contemporary materials. The marine industry values this unique training and has lauded The Landing School internationally with a reputation for graduates of exceptional quality.