History of IYRS

1993 IYRS is founded as the International Yacht Restoration School in Newport, Rhode Island by Elizabeth Meyer and John Mecray out of a desire to create a true wooden boat restoration program. They were inspired by classes taught at the Museum of Yachting, also co-founded by Mecray, but wanted a more comprehensive program.

1995 The 1903 electric generating plant on Newport Harbor is restored and renamed Restoration Hall, and it becomes home to the school’s first program in Boatbuilding & Restoration. 

1995 The school acquires the 1885 133-foot luxury schooner yacht Coronet for restoration. The yacht is a rare survivor of her era, whose contemporaries have mostly vanished due to sinking, grounding, or neglect. This large-yacht restoration becomes a magnet for the public and a channel for student externships and alumni employment.

1998 IYRS celebrates the first class of graduates from the Boatbuilding & Restoration program who enter the workforce.

2006 IYRS launches a second full-time program in Marine Systems. Developed in partnership with the American Boat & Yacht Council (ABYC), the program prepares students to sit for the industry ABYC & NMEA certification exams, gold-medal standards in the marine trades.

2006 The schooner yacht Coronet is conveyed to Coronet Restoration Partners, an organization that shares the same high standards for historic restoration as IYRS. The group continues the restoration project on the IYRS campus, led by shipwrights who are IYRS alumni. 

2007 IYRS acquires the Museum of Yachting, located across Newport Harbor at Fort Adams. Both organizations preserve maritime traditions, and the school and the museum coordinate projects, events, and exhibits for the public.

2008 The school’s second historic building, the Aquidneck Mill Building, is restored. The Edward W. Kane and James Gubelmann Library is built on the fourth floor as a student and community resource to house the Museum of Yachting collection and IYRS' growing collection of maritime books and periodicals.  

2010 IYRS launches its third full-time program in Composites Technology. The program trains students in designing and manufacturing with advanced materials. The program becomes industry-leading and expands the school’s educational focus into new industries and areas of technical focus.

2017 IYRS launches the Digital Modeling & Fabrication program and officially opens The Brooks Building, a  20,000 SF state-of-the-art campus facility. The new program and building signal a commitment to advanced manufacturing and traditional trades.

2018 The Aquidneck Mill Building is rededicated as the John Mecray Aquidneck Mill Building in memory of one of IYRS’ founders, John Mecray, a noted marine artist.