Shetland Boat Week
Shetland Boat Week is a relatively new addition to the heritage event calendar, having been established in 2016.
This week long festival is a showcase of Shetland's maritime heritage with many family friendly events and activities taking place during the second week of August. Events include demonstrations of traditional boatbuilding and knot tying skills, netmending and cookery; boat trips in traditional boats and tours of modern vessels.
Shetland Boat Week has been a catalyst for a programme of training in the traditional squaresail, or dipping lug technique utilising the Vaila Mae sixareen built in 2007. This boat, along with a traditional Haddock Boat (Laura Kay) are used daily during the festival to offer the public an opportunity to see how these boats handle in the water, and perhaps imagine, in the case of the sixareen, how the men going to the far haaf fishing might have had confidence in this practical and well built craft.
Shetland Boat Week is all about recognising the importance of Shetland's maritime heritage, and engaging with it, alongside the more contemporary maritime activities offered by sponsors and supporters. This is very much a community event with high levels of volunteer input and a real sense of pride from those loaning their own traditional boats for visitors to see and enjoy. Within the first two years, the event has already grown with nearly 300% more participation in boat trips and hundreds more people taking part in events during year two.
Event sponsors Ocean Kinetics, Serco NorthLink Ferries and Lerwick Port Authority are fully supportive and helpful partners in the event.