Shipbuilders were very important in Colonial America. Boats were important to American colonists. By and large, colonial America was a water-oriented place. Travel and trade were usually conducted by water. The first major shipbuilder we find in America was in New England—Richard Hollingsworth of Salem, Massachusetts, who arrived in 1635.
The shipbuilder had to manage many people. Many workers were required to create the necessities for sailing. Sails, for instance, were made by a sailmaker. The inside of a ship might be built by a finish carpenter. Coopers made barrels for transporting products, like hardtack (bread) and salted meat, or cod caught by local fishing boats. These same barrel makers in turn employed stavecutters and blacksmiths. To be successful, a shipbuilder had be able to effectively manage many different groups of people. The shipbuilder had to be able to keep everyone working quickly and effectively.
Shipbuilding boomed in Colonial America. Colonial shipyards numbered over 125 by the year 1750. Shipyards in Massachusetts helped free the colonies from British rule, strengthened the merchant and naval fleets that made the United States a world power and played pivotal roles in World War I and World War II.