Design & Architecture


Sailmakers make and install sails on boats, yachts and sailing ships.

  • Entry-level education

    Junior secondary school certificate or equivalent

  • Job outlook

    1 2 3 4 5

What does a Sailmaker do?

Sailmakers make and install sails on boats, yachts and sailing ships.


Work activities

As a sailmaker, you would:

  • consult with customers to establish design specifications
  • estimate and cost the job
  • produce technical specifications and designs
  • produce patterns according to the specifications
  • select, measure and mark out canvas and sail materials
  • cut material to shape and join sail panels
  • set up and maintain industrial sewing machines
  • add reinforcements and attachments to sewn sails.

Key skills and interests

To become a sailmaker, you would need:

  • to enjoy practical and manual activities
  • good hand-eye coordination
  • good concentration
  • to enjoy working with numbers
  • an understanding of design and pattern making.

Working hours and conditions

Working Hours

In a full-time role, you would usually work a standard number of hours per week. This may include weekends, as many people use sailboats or yachts on weekends, and may need sail repairs or consultations about new sails.


Sailmakers usually work in workshops, which may be attached to boatyards or industrial areas in ports or harbours where boats are moored. Some sailmakers may also make other products out of canvas and outdoor textiles, such as awnings, tents and tarpaulins, so may work in a factory which makes a range of products including sails.


How to become an Sailmaker?

Entry Level Education

You can work as a sailmaker without formal qualifications. You would get some training on the job. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have qualifications. You may like to consider a VET qualification in Textile Fabrication.

You can also become a sailmaker through an apprenticeship or traineeship in Textile Fabrication. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require senior secondary school certificate or equivalent.


Job outlook

  • 1 2 3 4 5

This is a specialised occupation, and employment opportunities are expected to decline.

As more sails, canvas goods and outdoor textiles are mass produced, or can be more easily produced using machines rather than manual skills, there are likely to be less opportunities available for sailmakers.

Opportunities are likely to best for those with very specialised design skills.


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