Traditional Boat Making


Pulau Duyong or Mermaid Island are consist of Pulau Duyong Besar (big) and Pulau Duyong Kecil (small). They are actually not really an island instead both are two peninsular that extends from the mainland and river towards the sea. Pulau Duyong Besar is the home of the most famous master boat makers and the oldest traditional boat making in Malaysia and is already an international tourist destination.Pulau Duyong which is only a few hectares big sits between The Sultan Mahmud Bridge and Kuala Sungai Terengganu making it easily accessible by road or river.Traditional Boat Making Terengganu's world-famous traditional boat makers in Duyong Island are known to build row boats, deep-sea fishing boats and luxury yachts from memory and experience, and without blueprints and nails! Visitors can stroll from one workshop to another to see the craftsmen at work. The island is easily accessible via the Sultan Mahmud Bridge or a short boat ride from the Kuala Terengganu waterfront.
The island has gained worldwide recognition as a centre for traditional boat making. The boats are built without the use of blueprints or plans. Everything was done by hand and surprisingly, there were few modern equipment used. It’s true indeed that they don’t use a single blueprint or plan to build a vessel, be it a giant trawler or a luxury yacht destined for foreign shores!All a master craftsman needs to know is the type and size of vessel. He then draws on his vast experience and photographic memory to begin his work. Even in this day and age, well-worn traditional tools like axe, saw, plane and hammer are the main tools of the trade.

Boat builders prefer to make use of the local high quality Cengal wood (neo balanocarpus), Penaga wood (mesua ferrea) for the dowels. Kulit gelam (tree bark-melaleaca leucadendron) is used for caulking, the water proof packing pressed between the planks. The Cengal wood planks were left under sun for several months before use. This rendered Cengal wood lighter, easier to work and less liable to warp.

Normally boat builders take about two years or tree years to finish their job and the costs to finish the boat around RM 2 billion to RM 3 billion, depends on boat size, woods and any special request. Feel free to visit Pulau Duyong before all the herritage gone .