Traditional Maritime Heritage Enthusiasts Invited to Nautical Conference


Friday October 5th, 10am-5pm

Provinciaal Erfgoed Centrum, Lotharingenstraat

9700 Ename (Oudenaarde), Belgium

Enthusiasts of beautiful historic vessels are invited to attend the Traditional Maritime Skills conference in Belgium next month dedicated to preserving the customs and skills of a historic boat building industry.

The Traditional Maritime Skills (TMS) conference in Ename, near Gent, on October 5th concludes a three year EU project led by partners in Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK. Its aim is to record wooden boat building skills that are in danger of becoming extinct due to an aging workforce.

The wealth of educational material, videos, images, CAD drawings, interviews and course frameworks produced through the project will be presented at the conference, held at the Provinciaal Erfgoed Centre on the banks of the River Scheldt.

A free and comprehensive virtual learning environment has been created that provides detailed online teaching packages covering a host of traditional skills such as riveting, splicing, rigging, laminating and sewing sails. Individual time-lapse videos captured specific skills as partners followed the step-by-step progress of boat building projects on either side of the 2 Seas area (the English Channel and North Sea).

The four organisations working together on the project are project-leader Maritime and Logistics College de Ruyter (Netherlands), Province of Zeeland (Netherlands), and Province of East-Flanders (Belgium) and Cornwall Marine Network (UK).

The regions bordering the ‘2 Seas’ area have a wealth of nautical heritage. The traditional maritime skills are highly valued historically and economically by those living along the coastline in the UK, Netherlands and Belgium. However, it is feared that the traditional ship and boat building skills could become extinct and boatyards are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit highly skilled workers.

Delegates attending next month’s conference will hear from project partners and guest speakers about how TMS’s outputs and virtual learning tools will engage and support future generations of traditional boat builders. They will be taken on both a tour of the new state-of-the-art virtual learning environment and of the traditional vessels moored alongside the quay.

The conference runs from 10am to 1pm on October 5th and is free to anyone with an interest in traditional boat building or who aspires to study, deliver training or work in the sector.

A variety of nautical stalls and activities will be running alongside the conference on the Friday and into the weekend in celebration of the traditional maritime industry. Exhibiting will be maritime conservation associations, Belgian maritime painters, model boat makers, plus a ships’ restorer will demonstrate how to make a rope, burn a plank and turn wood on a lathe in the traditional way. The free activities will run throughout the day,10am-5pm, from Friday 5th to Sunday 7th.

To book your place at the conference, email and you will be sent an invitation with final programme details.

[See event details...]

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