About us

Our heritage, our history, our team

The last boat builders of St-Omer

In the heart of the suburbs of Saint-Omer, Rémy and Vincent Colin are the heirs of a unique and ancestral know-how. Indeed, these two children of the country are the last manufacturers of escutes and bacôves, traditional oak boats, used for centuries by the market gardeners of yesteryear. For the latter, the boat was the essential means of transport 40 years ago! It was used for hunting, fishing, cultivation, or simply to reach home after a hard day's work.

Today, boat builders invite you to discover the audomarois marshes (Saint-Omer and Clairmarais marshes) aboard these extraordinary boats. They also allow you today to glimpse behind the scenes of the construction by opening the doors of their workshop to you.


Our heritage

XIIth - XVIIIth century

The origins, our heritage.
The shipbuilders corporation designs and builds commercial vessels around the port of Saint-Omer. These are scutes, cogues and naves. During the 1800s, the professional group abandoned commercial boats (belandres, etc.) to create the first bacôves and the escutes audomaroises. These boats are the only possible means of travel in the marsh.

1850 - 1950

The Golden Age of the Boat Builders.
Saint-Omer acquires railways and a station in 1848, which facilitates the transport of cauliflowers. At the end of the 400th century, the marsh had XNUMX market gardening families, half a dozen shipyards running at full speed. This intense activity will last until the Second World War.

Second half of the XNUMXth century

The market gardening crisis and the disappearance of boat makers
In 1950, the number of market gardeners decreased due to new farming techniques and now international competition. The swamp still has 3 Boat Maker workshops. In order to facilitate the movement of machinery and the mechanization of agricultural activities, the major land consolidation initiated in 1972 was completed in 1984. The marsh now includes service roads, bridges... 500 hectares of land are opened up and the boat becomes useless. The inevitable happened. In 1997, the last boat builder, Gérard Colin, retired. Is this the end of 800 years of naval traditions?


La Renaissance
Rémy Colin, Gérard's great-nephew, opens his own business. In the meantime, he has completed his studies in naval carpentry and has received, via a “campaigning”, the know-how of his great uncle. The tradition is saved! In 2011, SARL Colin will be created. The Boat Makers. Vincent, Remy's father, joins the adventure and becomes his son's disciple!

2013 - Today

The Boat Builders are reinventing themselves
The workshop is labeled Living Heritage Company. A year later, the team is growing. A few friends joined the Colin family to develop the business, which now offers boat and canoe rentals as well as guided tours of the Saint-Omer and Clairmarais marshes. From 2017 to the present day: The company has multiplied the achievements for the Gravelines moat, the Isles de Saint-Quentin park, the Amiens hortillonnages... and even for the Palace of Versailles! Les Faiseurs de Bateaux is now a mini-sawmill, a shipyard, a bar/restaurant and an open-air museum, as well as a pier from which everyone can visit the marsh along the water!

Our team

Remy Colin


Carpenter's diplomas in hand, Rémy left for Arcachon in 2007 for a one-year internship in naval carpentry. Back in Saint-Omer, he did his campaigning with the last boat builder, then retired, and created his own business before the incorporation of the company in 2011.

Vincent Collin


Vincent has had several professional lives: electrician, delivery man, kitchen designer… In 2011, he will begin his fourth retraining by founding the company with his son. It is in particular the latter who will train him in naval carpentry!

Valentin Hellebois

Carpenter/ bar manager

A graduate in entertainment and cinema, Valentin joined the team in 2016 to learn about woodworking. He has since worked on the realization of many boats while working on the communication of the company.

Benoit Eeckeman


Wood sculptor, Benoît is a graduate of the school of Tournai and in 2010 created his company "L'Homme du Chêne". He has since had many achievements. It was in 2018 that he joined the team to put his skills to the service of Boat Makers.

Jeremy Flandrin

Marketing & administration

A graduate in management and law, self-taught in the web professions, Jérémie is the "paperwork gentleman" of the team: social management, accounting, legal, writing, webmarketing, SEO... Who would have thought that he could have exercised all these passions at the edge of a river?

Annie Collin

Chief cook

Passionate about local cuisine, Annie takes care of the cooking and reception. His speciality? Homemade Flemish waffles, a family recipe that she cooks wonderfully.



Guide lecturer by profession and training, Mélanie settled in the marsh a few years ago and became passionate about the place. She now shares her agenda between our bacôves and group outings in Haut-de-France.



Ursula has been working in tourism for years and knows Saint-Omer like the back of her hand.

Knowing French, English, German and Dutch, she is the polyglot/interpreter of the troupe!


Guide & nurseryman

Passionate about nautical activities, thomas has been a guide in the marshes for years. He is passionate about nature and especially flora. This is why he created the Pépinière du Marais, his second activity!


Reception and kitchen

We find Dorothée at the reception or in the kitchen. Its mission: to delight you with good regional dishes!


Guide & Market gardener

Lucie settled in 2021 on the lands of Rieflart, in the suburb of Lyzel. 

It is on the nourishing soil of the marsh that she produces delicious vegetables, while sharing her time with our team on the bacôves.


Guide and market gardener

Aurore is passionate about ecology, organic market gardening and specializes in rare & medicinal plants. 

Located in the Audomarois marsh in the Haut-Pont suburb, Aurore also travels the marsh by boat with our visitors to tell them about the place.

Loic Boulier

Market gardener / cook

Organic market gardener for 10 years, Loic joined the Audomarois marsh in 2017. A trained cook, he is also in charge of delighting you with his products. Passionate about his new place of life, Loic is also a boat guide.

Our activities

Visit the Audomarois marshes differently: an authentic and unusual boat trip!

The Builders of boats invite you to discover, along the water, the various facets of audomarois marshes, a vast natural space recognized as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 2013. You will thus discover the inhabited marsh, the cultivated marsh as well as the wild marsh... These walks are carried out by boat, and more specifically by escute and bacôve, traditional boats audomarois marshes.

The boat builders offer guided tours, self-guided tours, but also unique experiences that will enhance your festive events, your association outings or your company seminars in Saint-Omer!

Guided visit

The guided tour is a picturesque and bucolic ride taking place in a serene way, in a select committee, in a traditional boat called an escute, fashioned from a century-old oak tree by your guide himself!

On board, all the senses are alert: we appreciate the warmth of the wood, as well as the smells that fill our nostrils... It smells of nature, peat, wood impregnated with natural tar... The marshes offer us a magnificent setting as well as landscapes that will delight photographers... This natural and living spectacle is pleasantly accompanied by ambient noise: sometimes the breath of the wind on the reeds, the quacking of ducks or the rustle of the boat gliding on the calm wave. … A unique moment, made possible by the use of motors Power, ecological and silent !

The guided tours offered are unique and unusual! You will be able, with the boat builders, to admire the marsh in all seasons but also at all hours of the day! Morning walks reveal the market gardening activity of these places while the Audomarois marsh in the middle of the afternoon reveals all its colors and the richness of its fauna. You can also try the Nocturnal Getaways… At dusk, the landscape takes on new colors and the nocturnal animals come out of their hiding places to offer us an unforgettable auditory spectacle!

The walks take place en all security in stable, robust and comfortable boats!

In short, opting for Boat Makers for your cruises means choosing a promenade atypical et nice in the heart of the Audomarois marsh! Also enjoy the visit to the workshop and the archaeological shipyards!

Discover the guided tours of the Marais audomarois.

Self-guided tours and rentals

Desire for adventures? With the boat builders, you can rent a wooden boat and set off alone, with family, friends or lovers to explore the marsh. We have selected for you circuits offering a unique experience!

Events and business seminars


The boat builders also offer to animate your festive events such as your weddings or birthdays: demonstrations of traditional boat handling, boat trips, organization of an unusual wedding procession by boat... 

An unusual walk in the marsh will also liven up your bachelor or bachelorette parties... Atmosphere guaranteed!

Our event offers in the Saint-Omer marsh

Company seminars

Partner of your company, boat builders offer you services that will delight your employees and customers: business meetings on the water, CE outings, seminars and team building actions in the heart of the marshes... Unusual ideas that hit the mark every time !

Discover our “Business, Business and teambuilding” offers in the Saint-Omer marsh

Les piquinettes, bar and open-air restaurant

Desire for adventures? With the boat builders, you can rent a wooden boat and set off alone, with family, friends or lovers to explore the marsh. We have selected for you circuits offering a unique experience!

A shipyard

Construction and sale of boats

And yes, it's not for nothing that boat builders are called that! The company has inherited ancestral know-how allowing you today to acquire a real bacôve or an escute, or even other traditional boats (jousting boat, flat hortillonnages...).

Our very wide range includes traditional boats of all sizes as well as wooden boats specifically adapted for family outings or fishing.

Discover our workshop and our traditional boat constructions