Deer Island, Bonavista Bay

The Wooden Boat Museum of Newfoundland and Labrador Boats & Builders Project records the knowledge, skills and stories associated with wooden boats built and used across the Province.

Oral histories collected from boat builders, fishers and their families weave a story of history and heritage as experienced by outport communities throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. Taking a closer look at skills and techniques tied to building and using wooden boats reveals the complexities of traditional knowledge and its connection to a heritage of innovation and adaptation. For hundreds of years, outport communities have demonstrated examples of applied sciences that remain relevant today.

“Look Aft and Learn”

Seafarers commonly say “look aft” to mean look behind, to the rear and the wake of the vessel. At the Wooden Boat Museum, we’ve adopted the phrase as our motto to demonstrate our commitment to looking to our history and heritage as a means of learning for the future.

Featured Posts
Lance, his wife Pat and their son David in British Harbour, July 1966

Lance Short

“You see, to we, a boat is only a boat. That’s all. It’s just nuttin’” Lance Short told us over tea and desserts served by his wife Pat. It was a chilly, damp October day and ...

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Fred Hollett and Angus Pike approaching their stage in a swamp boat. Photo taken in St. Lawrence, 1981.

Swamp Boats of the Burin Peninsula

During the mid-twentieth century, there was a type of boat found on the Burin peninsula called a “swampbottom,” or a “swamp” for short. “Most people claim that the swamp was a pretty stable boat,” said ...

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Sam Sheppard's Lark Harbour Dory

Earlier this year, WBMNL Folklorists Crystal Braye and I travelled to the West Coast in search of the Bay of Islands dory and her builders. As we turned off the Trans-Canada Highway and drove along ...

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