Careers

Interested in joining our team?


Having reached our 47 year milestone in the boat building industry, Van Dam Custom Boats combines a commitment to legacy craftsmanship and a passion to be the best boat builder in the world with an unmatched, lifetime guarantee*. We are seeking like-minded individuals willing to help us raise the bar of excellence.

Located in beautiful Boyne City, Michigan on the shores of Lake Charlevoix, you will find four seasons of adventure. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy boating and fishing on

our many inland lakes and rivers as well as on the Great Lakes. Every snow activity imaginable is available at our three area ski resorts while biking, hiking, and camping are right in our back yard.

If you feel you have what it takes to work with the best of the best, we would love to hear from you. Explore the positions below for more detailed information. Tell us a bit about yourself by submitting a cover letter of interest as well as a resume of your experiences and work history.

Benefits

Health, Dental, and Vision Insurance

A premium health and wellness insurance plan, including medical insurance, dental insurance, and vision insurance is provided at no cost to employees.

401k

A 3% Safe Harbor contribution is provided for each employee, regardless of plan participation.

Paid Time Off

Paid time off begins accruing immediately with employment.

Life Insurance & Long-Term Disability

Company provided life insurance policy in the amount of $5000 and long-term disability coverage is available for employee purchase at low group rates.

Open Book Management & Profit Sharing Program

The entire team is provided relevant company financial information leading to direct involvement in driving company efficiencies and successes. We promote a team focused, results driven culture and share the benefits this brings to our financial bottom line.

Continuing Education

We take great pride in being on the leading edge of construction techniques; we look for opportunities to support continuing education for everyone on our team. Consideration will be given to fund any continuing education or training that aligns with/furthers team goals.

Casual Attire

Workwear is supplied and an annual stipend for Van Dam branded clothing is provided.

Competitive Living Wages

Commensurate with experience and willingness to learn and contribute.

After Hours Use of Shop & Company Tools

Personal projects are fulfilling and can also expand skill sets – we are excited to support both

Tool Allowance

An annual stipend toward personal tools is provided so employees are building up their own tool sets.

2

Treat others the way you want to be treated.

Be aware of your words and actions when interacting with customers, co-workers, friends and family.

View all of our
cultural fundamentals

One-Of-A-Kind
Culture

To be the best, there must be a commitment to a common purpose; a team that puts the good of the whole at the forefront of every action. Learn more about the culture behind the craft.

Current Openings

THE COMPANY

Van Dam Custom Boats, located in Boyne City, Michigan, has been building custom, high-performance wooden boats since 1977. Known for our exceptional craftsmanship and innovative designs, we blend traditional techniques with modern engineering principles. Joining our team means becoming part of a legacy of excellence in boatbuilding, where you’ll work on some of the most exciting projects in the industry. Our crew, consisting of highly skilled craftspeople and apprentices, is dedicated to perfection. With an expansive shop equipped with state-of-the-art tools, you’ll thrive in our dynamic and collaborative environment. Whether you’re an experienced boat builder or starting your career, Van Dam offers a unique opportunity to be part of something truly special. We have a backlog stretching into 2026, and growth opportunities abound, with training available in project leadership, build management, and technical skills. Join us in our quest to build the finest wooden boats in the world.

THE POSITION

We’re looking for a year-round, full-time boat building apprentice to join our team. This is an entry-level position into a career with no ceiling of learning and excelling. The Van Dam Custom Boats Apprenticeship is a challenging program ideal for individuals who are passionate about creating, have a drive to be the best, and have the vision and tenacity to excel during the learning process. 

TIMELINE

Applications due 5/31/24; Stage 1 screening calls will take place 6/3-6/7/24; Stage 2 working interviews will take place 6/17-6/28/24; Estimated start date is 7/8/24.

PAY

Starting pay range for the apprenticeship program is $20-$23.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Willingness to learn and grow: Apprentices must be highly motivated to learn a skilled trade. In order for personal growth in building wood composite boats, apprentices need to have a positive, upbeat mindset and the ability to take constructive criticism and grow from it.
  • Be team oriented: Apprentices are part of an elite team who rely on each other to work hard, together.
  • Be self-driven: Apprentices are responsible for their personal growth and must be self-driven. We are offering a paid position of learning, and we expect apprentices to take responsibility for their experience.
  • Understand the importance and value of time
  • Embrace the concept of Kaizen (the practice of continuous improvement)

QUALIFICATIONS AND REQUIREMENTS

  • Education: High School diploma
  • Preferred skills and knowledge:
    • Experience working around boats is a plus
    • Experience working with hand tools is strongly preferred

THE LOCATION

Located in beautiful Boyne City, Michigan on the shores of Lake Charlevoix, you will find four seasons of adventure. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy boating and fishing on our many inland lakes and rivers as well as on the Great Lakes. Every snow activity imaginable is available at our three area ski resorts while biking, hiking, and camping are right in our backyard. We have great schools, fabulous restaurants, a vibrant farm market, plus much more for people that value community and nature.

HOW TO APPLY

This position is offered as full-time, year-round employment. We offer a comprehensive benefit package and endless learning opportunities. In case you missed them, we live our cultural fundamentals everyday – you can review them HERE.  We are on a mission! Come join us!

Please submit your letter of interest and resume below.

THE COMPANY

Van Dam Custom Boats, located in Boyne City, Michigan, has been building custom, high-performance wooden boats since 1977. Known for our exceptional craftsmanship and innovative designs, we blend traditional techniques with modern engineering principles. Joining our team means becoming part of a legacy of excellence in boatbuilding, where you’ll work on some of the most exciting projects in the industry. Our crew, consisting of highly skilled craftspeople and apprentices, is dedicated to perfection. With an expansive shop equipped with state-of-the-art tools, you’ll thrive in our dynamic and collaborative environment. Whether you’re an experienced boat builder or starting your career, Van Dam offers a unique opportunity to be part of something truly special. We have a backlog stretching into 2026, and growth opportunities abound, with training available in project leadership, build management, and technical skills. Join us in our quest to build the finest wooden boats in the world.

THE POSITION

We’re looking for a year-round, full-time craftsperson to join our Metal Shop. This is a mid-level or higher craftsperson who can work independently and has at least 2 years of experience metal working, including welding and machining.

PAY

Compensation is commensurate with experience and knowledge; pay range for metal shop craftsperson is $21-$31/hr.

DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:

· Metal Fabrication: Crafting metal components according to blueprints, drawings, or specifications provided by boat designers or engineers. This could involve cutting, welding, bending, and shaping metal parts to precise measurements.

· Quality Control: Ensuring that all fabricated metal components meet quality standards and specifications. This could involve inspecting finished parts for defects, imperfections, or inaccuracies and making adjustments or repairs as needed.

· Collaboration: Working closely with other craftspeople, designers, engineers, and managers to coordinate metal fabrication efforts within the larger boat-building process. This may involve communicating project status, sharing ideas, and problem-solving collaboratively.

· Safety Compliance: Adhering to safety protocols and procedures to ensure a safe working environment for oneself and others. This might include wearing appropriate personal protective equipment, following safe work practices, and participating in safety training programs.

· Tool Maintenance: Maintaining and servicing metalworking tools and equipment to ensure they are in good working condition. This could involve routine maintenance tasks, troubleshooting equipment issues, and coordinating repairs or replacements as necessary.

· Time Management: Meet timelines set forth by the Project Manager and Metal Shop Foreman. Demonstrate a sense of urgency, and effectively complete tasks/jobs up to hundreds of hours in length while tracking time and updating management as necessary.

· Maintain a positive attitude and help create a positive and supportive work environment

· Have a sense of ownership and pride in your performance and its impact on team success

· Have a thirst to learn and advance knowledge and skills

· Have a desire to be involved with the team and participate in the business

· Perform with a strong attention to detail, a high level of accuracy, and excellent time management skills with respect for deadlines

QUALIFICATIONS AND REQUIREMENTS:

· Certifications: None

· Career Experience: at least 2 years’ experience metal working

Required Skills & Work Experience:

o Basic Welding (TIG or MIG on stainless and aluminum)

o Manual machining (mill, lathe, drill press, etc.)

o Competent use of precision measuring tools

o Ability to read dimensioned mechanical drawings

Experience working with the following is a plus:

o Experience with metal finishing, including polishing and buffing

o Setting up and operating CNC mill

o The installation of finished parts is common work for metal shop personnel, so any marine experience is advantageous

o Any mechanical experience, including tractors, machinery, automobiles, hydraulics, mechanical systems, etc.

· Background Check: Pass a background check

· Physical Demands: Ability to climb ladders and stairs, to lift up to 50 pounds consistently, and to get on/off in and around boats of varying sizes; Ability to work outdoors in all conditions

THE LOCATION

Located in beautiful Boyne City, Michigan on the shores of Lake Charlevoix, you will find four seasons of adventure. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy boating and fishing on our many inland lakes and rivers as well as on the Great Lakes. Every snow activity imaginable is available at our three area ski resorts while biking, hiking, and camping are right in our back yard. We have great schools, fabulous restaurants, a vibrant farm market, plus much more for people that value community and nature.

HOW TO APPLY

This position is offered as full-time, year-round employment. We offer a comprehensive benefit package and generous compensation for proven experience.  And in case you missed them, we live our cultural fundamentals everyday – you can review them HERE.  We are on a mission! Come join us! Please submit your letter of interest, resume, portfolio of experiences, and references below.

THE COMPANY

The crew at Van Dam consists of some of the most highly skilled wooden boat builders in the industry as well as young, keen people working through the company’s own apprenticeship program.  We are a creative, hardworking, and dedicated team on a quest to build the finest wooden boats in the world. With a constant pursuit for perfection and the highest standards, Van Dam is renowned for the beautiful artwork of its boat building.

By joining our team, you will be working on some of the most exciting and finest wooden boat building projects in the world with a small, dedicated team that has built a larger variety of wooden boats than anyone in North America.  It is a place where your contribution matters!  We have an expansive shop with state-of-the-art equipment and a culture that supports the people and the mission.  Our backlog stretches into 2026 with people around the world waiting for their chance to build their dream boat with this team.  Growth potential and training in the areas of project leadership, build management and technical knowledge is available, and it is expected that you will want to participate and take an active role in your growth.

THE POSITION

Van Dam Custom Boats, one of the world’s premier wooden boat builders, is seeking a talented, energetic, and motivated addition to the team.  As an experienced member of our team, you will be expected to be fluent in all aspects of cold molded construction, from building frames and stringers, to laminating hull skins and exterior planking, to the different types of joinery commonly used in boat building to fairing surfaces without the need to add filler.  A thorough understanding of the structural challenges and concerns when working with wood and an attention to detail are expected.  Furthermore, the ability to shift from hull construction into interior construction and detailed woodworking for both painted and varnished surfaces will be expected.  Experience with electrical systems installation, mechanical systems installation and engine and drivetrain installation is desired.  Basic experience with composites is also desired.  In this role you will most typically be a part of an entire build project working on everything from the hull construction through interior construction, helping in the metal and paint departments, and doing the final assembly.  Day to day, you will report directly to one of the project managers, but you will also have oversight and consistent direct involvement with the president of the company.  You will be expected to bring good energy, enthusiasm, and tenacity every day.  Active participation in everything from developing solutions for day-to-day challenges to the financials of the business and our monthly meetings is important and expected.  Compensation is $25-$35 per hour.

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Live our Fundamentals
  • Consistently perform high quality work in areas including but not limited to:
    • Hull and deck structural components
    • Laminating skins
    • Hull planking for bright finished hullsides and decks
    • Fairing surfaces
    • Cabinetry
    • Fine woodworking
    • Occasional restoration work on traditionally built boats and modern boats
  • Meet timelines set forth by the Project Manager or bring up issues early if not able to meet the timeline
  • Learn our way first, then bring the benefit of your experience
  • Execute on tasks with little or no guidance, (after proper instruction)
  • Be your own quality control and bring issues to the Project Manager when you see them
  • Bring energy and enthusiasm
  • Be a contributing member of the team, able to take on multiple aspects of projects
  • Constantly improve your abilities
  • Take responsibility for your experience here
  • Willingness to work regular overtime, (at 1.5x hourly wage)

Requirements and Qualifications:

  • Minimum 4 years’ experience building wooden boats
  • Significant experience and comfort with cold molding
  • ABYC familiarity, (certifications desired)
  • Electrical and mechanical experience desired

THE LOCATION

Located in beautiful Boyne City, Michigan on the shores of Lake Charlevoix, you will find four seasons of adventure. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy boating and fishing on our many inland lakes and rivers as well as on the Great Lakes. Every snow activity imaginable is available at our three area ski resorts while biking, hiking, and camping are right in our back yard. We have great schools, fabulous restaurants, a vibrant farm market, plus much more for people that value community and nature.

HOW TO APPLY

This position is offered as full-time, year-round employment. Applicants must have at least four years of cold molded boat building and woodworking experience. Any experience with related trades such as metalworking, finishing and mechanical systems are a plus.  We offer a comprehensive benefit package and generous compensation for proven experience.  And in case you missed them, we live our cultural fundamentals everyday – you can review them HERE.  We are on a mission! Come join us! Please submit your letter of interest, portfolio of experiences, and references below.

Van Dam Custom Boats and Boyne Boat Yard will have up to one student per year who receives a scholarship to attend one year at the Great Lakes Boat Building School.  The student will receive up to $15,000 toward tuition costs and up to $4,000 in a scholarship award to help with school expenses. The recipient will be chosen by our team and will be expected to work for one of Van Dam’s companies following graduation. If you would like to be considered for this student scholarship, please submit your interest.

Apply

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  • Accepted file types: pdf, doc, docx, Max. file size: 5 MB.
  • Accepted file types: pdf, doc, docx, Max. file size: 5 MB.

A remarkable
History

“What started off as a dream to sail around the world in a boat we built ourselves, gradually changed into a vision to ensure the future of craftsmanship. Van Dam Custom Boats was born.” – Steve Van Dam

A Brand New
Facility

In keeping with the Cultural Fundamentals of the company, importance is placed on the efficient, effective and orderly flow of the work day. Continuous improvement includes our surroundings.

Van Dam building exterior photo.
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