If you're like most people, you've often dreamed of building your own boat. Nothing elaborate mind you – just something sturdy, attractive and, of course, seaworthy. Weekend trips with the family, fishing excursions with your buddies or as a simple stress-reducing activity for yourself, building a boat with your own hands is overwhelming satisfing. But where do you start? Which boat would be the right one for you to build?
Size Things Up
Size often plays a major role is choosing a boat to build. Chances are, if you're building your first boat, you do not have a great deal of space allotted for the project. It will be easier to fit a small, 13-foot boat into your garage than to try and create workshift workspace for a 40 'monster.
Decide what area you want to use as your workshop. If the area is a pre-existing space (a garage, a barn, etc.), make sure the finished boat will fit into the room you have. If you're going to build a temporary workshop, allow yourself enough space to comfortably walk around all sides. A good rule of thumb is to add two to three feet to the measurements outlined in the boat plans.
Generally speaking, if you are building your first boat, you'll want to begin with a simple design. After all, it does not make sense to try to run before you can walk. If you've built one or two boats in the past, you may be ready to graduate to more complex vessels.
Canoes, rowboats, skiffs and dinghies are all highly functional boats with simplistic construction. If you can find boat plans that are full-sized, your job will be much easier because measuring will be eliminated. Full-sized plans offer convenient lines of each panel. You simply lay the panel on top of your wood and cut around it.
Keep An Eye On Costs
The last consideration when choosing a boat to build is cost. The larger and more elaborate boat boats are, the more expensive it will be to build. For instance, a 10-foot Garvey Flex boat may require only four sheets of plywood. In contrast, a 27-foot motorboat will use a good bit more material, which means the costs will rise.
The materials and embellishments you include with your boat can also increase its price. You can build a boat of standard plywood, but it is highly recommended that you use marine-grade plywood for best performance and longevity.
Adding extra storage compartments and extra seating can increase costs, as can the types of paints or stains you select when finishing your boat.
How will you get your new boat to the water? Do you live on the water? Do you have, or will you buy, a trailer? Smaller boats can easily be transported atop a car or truck. Larger boats will require some type of transportation to get them from the build site to the launch site. Before you wind up with a dry docked 21-foot Garvey Flex in your backyard, be sure you have a way to move it to the water.
Prams, scouts, barges, tugboats … the list goes on. You could literally choose to build virtually any type of boat you wanted. But when you weigh the size, simplicity, cost and transportation of each boat, you'll have a better idea of which one is the right option for you.