Who Are We Guided Independent Study Course Information Student Center Design Center News job Site

All the boats pictured on this site were designed by Westlawn alumni.
Click here to see a gallery of alumni designs.

Westlawn alumni are prominent in the marine industry. Click here to see more.

Click here for information on Westlawn's short continuing education courses.

Click here to sign up for Westlawn’s free email journal, The Masthead, with: technical information, what’s happening at Westlawn, and boating industry updates.

Click here to order books, apparel and accessories.



Overview of Naval Architecture for Marine Professionals

(Formerly called Yacht Design Lite)


Learn the What Naval Architects Do


This overview of the Westlawn Yacht Design Program for those who need to understand the basics of yacht and boat design but who do not intend to become professional designers, including mechanical and structural engineers who need to gain a good grasp of the fundamentals of boat design. This Overview course will be of primary benefit to marine-industry managers, yacht and boat surveyors, industrial and interior designers, professional crew, investigators and adjustors, boat builders, and others simply looking for an expanded knowledge of job-related disciplines.


This overview provides the student with a working knowledge of design principles, hull dynamics and manufacturing technologies. This course will be of primary benefit to marine industry professionals for whom this concentrated “cross training” will lead to improved job performance, promotion opportunities, or simply expanded knowledge of job-related disciplines. For marine surveyors particularly, Overview is an invaluable tool that will both systematically expand your knowledge of boat design and construction and enhance your credentials. This course concentrates essential design principles—styling, aesthetics and space utilization—in the context of structure and hull dynamics to deliver a solid understanding of yacht design fundamentals.


Featured subjects include:

Introduction to Hydrostatics.

A comprehensive study of the characteristics and values pertaining to the underwater form of a boat



Design implications of vessel weight, buoyancy, loading and external factors. Presented in two parts.


Principles of Resistance

Fluid characteristics and their relationship to hull form and propulsion.


Drawing of Hull Lines

The elements and process of creating a working document that precisely defines a hull’s shape.


Interior Design

Defining and arranging interior spaces for maximum utility and comfort.


Fiberglass Boat Construction

Introduction to the properties and capabilities of FRP materials, mold-making, lamination processes, coring, and stiffening. Presented in two parts. On achieving a passing grade in each of eight separate assignments, the student is awarded a Certificate of Completion.


Admission Requirements

Applicants should have a high school diploma or the equivalent and must have two years of high-school-level mathematics in algebra and trigonometry. Applicants who do not have a high school diploma or equivalent may be accepted if they can satisfy the faculty that their experience and education have prepared them to pursue this course. The applicant’s age must exceed the compulsory age for completion of high school. Students need a computer and the ability to log on to the Internet to enroll.


Program Timing and Enrollment

The entire Elements of Technical Boat Design course requires about 280 hours of study and assignment preparation. Working on a full-time basis, students should be able to complete the course in six months or less. The tuition fee covers all coursework expenses from the day of enrollment to the awarding of the certificate of completion.


Click here to view a detailed Overview course syllabus


Important: Overview of Naval Architecture for Marine Professionals is not a substitute for the full Westlawn Yacht & Boat Design Program. Should a student take the Overview course and thereafter decide to pursue the Yacht & Boat Design Program, credit will be given for all subjects receiving a passing grade. Overview includes almost no actual design work, so students will not learn to apply this knowledge creatively on yacht designs, but can use this knowledge critically to review the work of a naval architect. Under no circumstances, however, should a student presume that completion Overview alone qualifies him or her to design boats or yachts.


Those interested in the full Yacht & Boat Design Program should download the course catalog at:

 Yacht & Boat Design Course Catalog


NOTE: Overview includes a portion of the ID 201 course, “Interior Design Methods,” and also all of the BC 401 course, “Fiberglass Boatbuilding: Materials & Methods.”


Click Here To Download The Elements of Technical Boat Design Enrollment Form

(Be sure to download the correct form, either U.S. or international and for Yacht Design Lite.)


Prerequisite: Applicants should have a high school diploma or the equivalent and must have two years of high-school-level mathematics in algebra and trigonometry. Knowledge of descriptive terminology used in boat construction. A computer with reliable Internet access and email is required.

Number of Lessons: An 8 lesson course that can be completed in about 280 hours of study.

Materials & Service: Instructor services, Westlawn textbooks, and study guide.

Tuition Fee: $4,500 plus $100 per month enrollment fee.

Award: Certificate of Completion

NOTE: Be sure to fill out and submit all four pages of the specific Elements enrollment form.