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3805 Harborview Drive
Gig Harbor, WA 98332

(253) 857-9344

Working to Preserve Gig Harbors Historic Working Waterfront this non-profit boatyard located in historic Gig Harbor, Washington is the birthplace of the Thunderbird sailboat.

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Maritime Mentorship ProgramR1


Work alongside a master in his field as he teaches you boat restoration skills, techniques, and practices. Whether you’re a Chris-Craft enthusiast, interested in learning a few tips and tricks for your own restoration project, or have dreamed of taking part in a major restoration project, this is a rare opportunity to learn first-hand from craftsman Bruce Bronson, internationally renowned for his work restoring vintage Chris-Crafts.

Bruce will be working at the BoatShop every Thursday as he restores a 1941 Chris-Craft 16’ 101 Deluxe. The Apprentice for a Day program provides access for you to work alongside Bruce in a master-apprentice setting. Pick his brain and learn from the best as you work together. You’ll have Bruce’s undivided attention - only one person can participate each day. You can sign up for one day, or for a series of days. The more days you sign up for, the bigger the discount. If you find yourself falling in love with the boat, you have the opportunity to enjoy it forever - the Chris-Craft is available for pre-purchase. Imagine working with Bruce to restore YOUR boat!

Learn more about the project and Bruce Bronson below. Follow the blog to stay updated on progress.


10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Per session: Gig Harbor BoatShop members $100 / general public $130

Purchase two sessions and enjoy a 10% discount. Purchase three sessions and enjoy a 15% discount. Purchase four sessions and receive a 20% discount. Contact us if you’d like to purchase five or more sessions.

Call (253) 857-9344 or email to reserve your space. Limit one participant per day. Reservations are accepted on a first-come, first served basis.


The finished Chris-Craft 101 Deluxe is available for commission or purchase.

The finished Chris-Craft 101 Deluxe is available for commission or purchase.

Join Bruce as he completely restores a 1941 Chris-Craft 16’ 101 Deluxe. This unique vessel is highly desirable because of its pre-war vintage (a time period considered by some to be the height of Chris-Craft design) and its cockpit layout. Donated to the BoatShop, the boat is in poor condition and needs a complete overhaul from the keel up to restore her to her former glory. This project covers nearly every facet of classic vessel restoration, and interns will learn specific skills including structural work (nearly every piece of the wooden structure will be replaced, including framing, decking, and planking), rebuilding the engine, restoring or replacing all mechanical components, chrome work, replacing upholstery, replacing the windshield, and finishing. When complete, the boat will be sold and proceeds will support BoatShop public services and programs.

ABOUT mentor Bruce Bronson 

Mentor Bruce Bronson restores a Chris-Craft Super Sport.

Mentor Bruce Bronson restores a Chris-Craft Super Sport.


Bruce Bronson, owner of Bronson Boat Works, has been restoring vintage mahogany runabouts in Gig Harbor for three decades. Bruce’s father owned Hollywood Boat Manufacturing in Tacoma where Bruce had his earliest exposure to the art and craft of boatbuilding. Prior to embarking on boat restoration work, Bruce restored multiple automobiles including three 1930 Model As: a Model A Roadster, a Model A Station Wagon, a Model A Coupe, and a 1937 Cord Cabriolet.


Vintage mahogany runabouts utilize marine versions of engines that can be found in mid-20th century automobiles. It is no surprise then, given Bruce’s family boatbuilding heritage and early interest in automobiles, that he pursued a vocation that includes components of each. Bruce said, “I’m stuck in the same time zone for both cars and boats: the late ‘20s to the early ‘60s. I just love boats and cars from that era.”


Bronson, who typically works alone, has graciously offered his support and expertise to the BoatShop in the past. He served as a mentor during the restoration of a 1964 Chris-Craft Super Sport runabout. He led three Maloney skiff building programs where participants built 12’ rowing skiffs over a period of months. Based on participant feedback, we know Bruce inspires and instills his tremendous skills and knowledge to those he works with.