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Masters boatbuilders

It was the Maritime Heritage Unit (of the Environmental Department of the Mallorcan government) who, in 1989, began the process of re-establishing the traditional craft of boatbuilding. The teacher Josep Cabot set up the Master Boatbuilders’ School at the Old Quay in Palma. However, it was not until 1999, ten years later, that the school started to become established. It has a very important role in the recovery and promotion of maritime heritage.

In 1999, a second school workshop was set up to restore the Balear, a vessel owned by the Mallorcan government and that a year earlier had been declared an item of cultural interest. The school’s workshop students spent two years restoring the Balear to its former glory.

From then until now, there have been four more workshop projects: in 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2008.

The establishing of the different master boatbuilder workshops has enabled young people to learn a trade. In addition, it has allowed the Department of the Environment to have access to qualified personnel for the recovery and restoration of traditional vessels.

Since 2009, the master boatbuilders’ school has had a definitive role regarding the recovery and the maintenance of traditional small boats. The master boatbuilders’ school has also worked, over the past two decades, to promote traditional boatbuilding across the whole island.

In addition, as part of an approach to re-establish the boatbuilding trade, the Maritime Heritage Unit (of the Environmental Department of the Mallorcan government) is currently preparing a list of the existing master boatbuilders on the island. This includes both those who are officially recognized and those who are not. It is also trying to compile blueprints for the construction of traditional boats as every master boatbuilder uses a different one. Some have already been lost.

Museu Marítim de Mallorca