Shipbuilding – Omani Style

Following on from my blog about Christmas in Muscat and Sur, I want to share some more photos and information with you about the Sur dhow building yard.

As soon as you enter the gate you see the “raw materials store”.  Where on earth has all this wood come from?  I suppose it arrived by boat….
 Look at the size of those planks of wood…

but they are put to good use here – hard to believe that this will be a boat someday!

There are some concessions to technology… 

…but still much of the work is done by labour intensive methods handed down over the centuries

The Portugese occupied Oman from 1515 to 1650 and the dhows show some European influence in their design.

And the workshops… health and safety isn’t quite as strict as in the UK.  This is not the ideal attraction to take a 3 year old to visit!

A view from the waters edge showed the dhows taking shape – now you could start to believe that the dhows will have ocean going capabilities!

Not a dead dog, just a sleeping one…. so we let it lie and enjoy the sun!

Here’s one we made earlier….

Make that two….

Some pretty exotic types of wood here, imagine going in to B&Q and asking for some planks of Garat or Iroko! 


The dhow yard is owned by Juma Hasson Juma Al-Araimi Trading and their number is +968 (9)9317656.  The owners/workers didn’t speak any english but there were tour guides there there with their “own” tourists and they were happy to answer our questions.

Opening hours?  I think you could go there anytime and have a look around as even if the gate was locked you could access the beach and go and admire the in-progress dhows. They have an office/showroom which sells some souvenirs and I would expect it to be closed on Friday also mid-afternoons,

Although dhow building has long passed its zenith, it’s good to see traditions continue in what was once the dhow construction capital of Oman.  The last 42 years have seen momentous change in Oman which has developed into a modern nation from an almost tribal society. The Omanis are very proud of their seafaring traditions and their ability to build good strong boats enabled them to trade with partners throughout Asia and East Africa.  

The Omanis should be very proud of this boatyard which shares with tourists from all over the world, a small glimpse of a life long gone.

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  1. That was really interesting, comparing with the Macduff boat yards, and at Fraserburgh, but of course there is little comparison! Also made me drool as some of it looks like good firewood. Sorry.

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