Westlawn's Mission

The Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology operates around one central goal:

Enabling our students and alumni to achieve their dreams of becoming successful yacht designers.

Westlawn Opens Doors

Over the years, Westlawn has produced more practicing small-craft designers than any other institution in the world.

Westlawn graduates have established careers throughout the marine industry, with leading builders and design firms. Many have launched their own independent design firms.

The Westlawn Diploma in Naval Architecture, Marine Engineering, and Yacht Design demonstrates the graduate’s mastery of concept and design skills. Equally important to prospective clients and employers, it offers proof of superior self-discipline and dedication, for a powerful competitive advantage in the global marine industry.

Many Westlawn graduates report that their portfolios of design projects from the Westlawn course have been a primary factor in securing employment with leading boatbuilders and design firms. Employers add that Westlawn students’ learning is practical, relevant and up-to-date, allowing them to begin contributing immediately as productive team members.

Many Westlawn students have completed their studies after being hired as designers in many industries.

Who Should Consider Westlawn

Recent high school graduates choose Westlawn as the next step in their education, leading directly to a yacht and boat design career.

College and university students earning degrees in naval architecture and marine engineering find that Westlawn provides skills in boat design not covered in university courses, as well as training in conceptualization and aesthetics.

Many Westlawn students have already established careers in other disciplines, and seek to change their professional direction. Others, already working as designers in the marine industry, select Westlawn as a path to professional development and career enhancement.

So if you have an interest in boats and a desire to flex your creative muscle in marine design, the Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology is for you.

A Westlawn Education Is Effective, Convenient, And Affordable

To help you achieve your professional dreams, we’ve made it easier than ever to complete your Westlawn education.

Your tuition includes all books and full versions of AutoCAD, Alias, Maya, Solidworks, and other software from Autodesk. Deep discounts on Rhino and Orca3d are also available to our students.

Your monthly student fee covers your student membership in the two professional organizations that will be very important to your career as a yacht designer: RINA, the Royal Institution of Naval Architects, and SNAME, the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers. These two organizations provide you with periodicals and access to an enormous library of valuable reference materials.

Because tuition and enrollment fees include all text materials, software tools, assignment review and evaluation, testing, grading and consultation with faculty, the cost of a Westlawn education represents a superior value.

Practical, Project Based Learning

Our courses are online, and have always been based on “Project Based Learning” which is widely recognized as the most effective way to learn: As a Westlawn student you will learn knowledge and skills, and immediately apply your skills on practical yacht designs.

Project Based Learning enables you to internalize and retain the knowledge and skills, as you use the tools and processes used in professional yacht design firms.

Select Westlawn students also have the opportunity to collaborate on Superyacht designs at Art Center College of Design, in Pasadena California.

By the time you graduate, your portfolio of professional quality design work will include nine designs of yachts engineered in aluminum, fiberglass, and wood, both sail and power.

This realistic and practical education means you will have the confident ability to design yachts for clients upon graduation.

The Yacht Design and Naval Architecture Course

A comprehensive four-module professional education, the Westlawn Yacht Design & Naval Architecture course enables you to master the principles of yacht design using industry standard tools, including Rhino3d and AutoCAD.

During this course, you will prepare plans, computations, specifications and all the details for nine different boat designs. You will design both powerboats and sailboats. You will follow the practices of successful yacht design firms.

Your nine different designs will be critiqued by the Westlawn faculty of professional yacht designers, and will provide you with a portfolio of your own designs to help you start your career.

Module 1: Principles of Yacht Design

Introduction to design process; Fundamentals of statics and dynamics and their influence on design.

Module 2: Aesthetics and Layouts

Elements of exterior and interior design of powerboats, monohull sailboats and multihulls, using Rhino and Autodesk tools such as AutoCAD.

Module 3: Construction Methods

A detailed study of manufacturing technologies, materials and processes for wood, fiberglass and aluminum production.

Module 4: Systems and Equipment

Design considerations and issues relating to engine installations, propulsion, electrical, navigation, plumbing, fuel and environmental systems.

When you satisfactorily complete all four modules, you will graduate and be awarded the Diploma in Yacht Design, Naval Architecture, and Marine Engineering.

Admission Requirements

The Yacht Design & Naval Architecture course is a comprehensive and rigorous course. You should be prepared and mature enough for a college education. There are no specific prerequisites, other than self motivation and discipline.

You need a Mac or PC with internet access and email to enroll and to do the coursework.

Work at your own pace

You may start the Westlawn course at any time.

The entire Yacht Design & Naval Architecture course requires about 3,200 hours of study and assignment preparation, or about 1 to 3 hours a day to complete the course in 4 years.

Westlawn is a work-at-your-own-pace school. Some complete in as little as two years, others may take a decade. It is common for our students to obtain gainful employment as designers of yachts, cars, airplanes, products, and interiors early in their education at Westlawn.

Tuition and Fees

$4600 per module for tuition, and $100 enrollment fee per month. Therefore, the total 4 module course will cost about $23,200 if completed in 4 years.

Everything is Included

Your tuition and enrollment fees includes all books and full versions of all software from Autodesk, including AutoCAD, Alias, Maya, Inventor. Deep discounts on Rhino and Orca3d are also available to our students.

Making waves for 90 years

Since 1930, Westlawn has set the standard for yacht design education. Over the years, our alumni continue to lead the marine industry in setting the tone for style throughout the industry, including sailing and power yachts and commercial vessels.

For example, alumnus Jack Hargrave gave us the now pervasive style of sport fishing boats with long fordecks and wide and low cockpits.

Alumni Andrej Justin, Tom Fexas, Bruce King, Gerry Douglas, Roger Martin, Dudley Dix, John Swarbrick, Doug Zurn, Rod Johnstone, and many others have designed large numbers of beautiful and influencial custom and production yachts including many America’s Cup racers.

Eos, the 320’ three masted schooner built by Lurssen, was designed by Westlawn graduate and Senior Partner of Langan Design, Antonio Ferrer.

Recent graduates include Adam Voorhees, Superyacht design award winner, and Adriana Monk, a Chief Designer for Wally Yachts of Monaco.

What Alumni Have to Say about Westlawn

It was a wonderful day for me personally to be able to present a second diploma to a Westlawn graduate since taking over the Hargrave company. I want to thank Westlawn for making all this possible not only for Greg Boyko, but for the entire Hargrave family. We take great pride in our company’s long history with Westlawn, and the list of honored recipients to receive a Westlawn diploma who not only played an important role in our company, but in the yachting industry overall is impressive indeed. Keep up the great work!
. . . I am currently a NAMS surveyor in Annapolis and have had my own successful business for over 16 years. I have been employed by two yacht yards and the US Navy. I spent three years on the drawing board primarily working for the Navy but doing some independent smaller design projects. In the last 20 years I have traveled to 40 countries surveying all manner of vessels from ocean going tugs and floating dry docks to yachts and high speed patrol boats. Many thanks for helping me establish a rewarding and wonderful career.
I am a Westlawn grad who has worked in the industry for over 17 years and am now presently holding the position of Sr. Development Engineer at Pursuit Boats (a division of S2 Yachts, Inc.). I have had several colleagues of mine inquire about the Westlawn program and I am always eager to provide a wonderful appraisal of my studies at Westlawn. It was exciting when ABYC decided to adopt the course and I was also pleased to hear that Norman Nudelman was once again part of the faculty. Keep up the good work and good luck with your future endeavors.
For those of us whose school notebooks were embroidered with boat sketches, the practice of yacht design is just being paid for doing what we like best. Training, such as the Westlawn course, is essential to make this possible. It did this for me.
If you are the kind of person that seeks rewards beyond the monetary boundaries, there is nothing so gratifying as seeing your design take shape and finally sail away. The Westlawn School of Yacht Design course can extract those talents from our creative genes.
I recommend Westlawn to anyone desiring to become a yacht designer or commercial boat designer.
. . . the quality of its graduates, including Bruce King, Bill Shaw, and Ted Brewer remains a constant.


Westlawn is a 501(c)3 non-profit public charity. Therefore, all revenues and funds are used only for the education of Westlawn students. Over the past 90 years, Westlawn has educated thousands of practicing yacht designers. Westlawn provides students with all books and software tools required to complete the course.