The evidence of boat building activities in the Scottish area dates back to the Dark Ages when dug out boats were built for fishing and sailing on the lochs.
Boat Building in Cellardyke
Regular development was undertaken by the shipwrights to give seamen better and safer boats. The development in fishing boat design and building reached its peak during the Golden Age of Scottish Fishing. The Fife area played an important role in this period. The local boat builders created the “Fifie”, the famous fishing vessel type which revolutionised the fishing industry of all Scotland.
From the early 19th century Fife’s boat builders were recognised for their boat building skills and for the quality of their boats for many decades. During this time, most of the historic harbours housed not only a huge fishing fleet but also numerous boatyards such as Miller, Reekie, Aitken, Smith and Hutton, Fulton and many others.
Training young people on boat conservation
Over the years the Scottish Fisheries Museum has collected much information, tools and records about the period but this is not enough by itself to keep the trade and the skills alive. Because of the risk of a permanent loss of craftsmanship, the Museum believed that establishing a working boatyard would provide the following benefits:
− keeping the skills alive throughout the daily work of the volunteers, trainees and staff
− teaching useful skills to young people to improve the spread of craftsmen and so benefit both maritime heritage and young workers
− providing a service for old wooden boats which require restoration and maintenance