Category Archives: General Boat Articles

Finding Free Boat Plans – Skiffs Dinghies Rowboats and Runabouts

This article is written to help you find free public domain rowboat, dinghy or skiff boat plans on the internet. We also show you what tools you will need to build your own small wooden boat.

Many people dream of one day owning their own boat.  There are two ways to make this dream come true.  You can buy a boat either new or used.  Buying a boat is quick and easy and in today’s society quick and easy is popular.  New boats are expensive and drop in value substantially the second you buy them.  Used boats are much more affordable but you sometimes end up buying someone else’s problems.

There is another way to obtain a boat.  Just build it yourself.  There are several reasons for choosing this method. 

Building a boat can save you quite a bit of money. A small dory may cost you a thousand dollars to purchase but only a hundred to build yourself.

Building a boat gets you exactly what you want.  Since you are the builder you choose the features, length, width, weight, color, etc.  No need to just take what you can get.

Boat building is a great hobby. Nothing is more satisfying than  taking plain wood and turning it into a vessel that can take you across a bay or in some cases around the world.  Until just a few decades ago if you wanted a boat you had no choice but to build it or have it built.  Craftsmen have been constructing vessels for thousands of years and you can continue that tradition.

Finally, boat building can become a profitable business.  You would want to stick with simple small boats that have a high profit margin.  Dinghies are great.  Just build them, advertise and sell.

Every boat project starts with a plan.  Boat plans should outline everything you will need to complete your project in a step by step method.  There are a number of free boat plans on the internet that can be printed out and used to build a boat. (see links below)  If you are new to boat building start by building simple boats.  Some can be put together in a day or two.  Use the boat, sell it and then start another.  Once you become proficient at building small boats you are ready to move on to bigger projects. 

Here are some examples of free small boat plans available in the public domain.  The great thing about boat plans is that they are timeless and as useful today as they were 75 years ago.

Free Plans for a Three Piece Portable Boat (very unique)

Free Plans for an 8′ Simple Fishing Skiff

Free Plans for a 13′ Simple Rowboat (or small motor)

Free Plans for a Very Simple 10′ Folding Boat

Free Plans for a Basic Rowing Dory

Free Plans for a Simple Plywood Dinghy

Free Plans for an Unsinkable Fiberglassed Dinghy

Free Plans for a 15′ Rowing Dory

Before you begin your boat building project you are going to need to have a place to build that is out of the weather and the proper tools to construct the boat.  Here are the basic tools you will need:

Saw Horses
Screwdrivers (preferably cordless)
Wood Clamps
Drill (Cordless)
Skill Saw or Table Saw
Measuring Tape and Pencils
Jig Saw
Miter Box
Sand Paper
Planing Tool

Once you have your tools and a place to build, all you need to do is add materials and you are ready to start building your boat.  Just make sure to follow instructions and take it step by step.  Study the plans carefully before starting so that you have an image in your mind of how the pieces are going to fit together and how the finished product is to look like.


Adding Passive Reflectivity to your Sailboat

Being on the water at night in a sailboat is much like driving through a busy parking lot at night with your lights off and hoping not to get hit.  There seems to be no rules as to how to avoid a collision with other boats.  Being seen is crucial to your safety on the water.  The red and green running lights provide a little visibility but these lights tend to disappear into the background given how small and dim they are.

Passive reflectivity is the solution.  Reflective tapes can provide a clear outline of your boat when hit with a flashlight or spotlight from another boat.  SOLAS reflective tape by Oralite is the most popular way to make your boat light up at night. And this method is especially effective when your boat is at anchor or unattended.

Passive reflectivity.  SOLAS coast guard approved marine tape on a sailboat

Buy placing a bright reflective tape in multiple places on your boat you can reproduce the outline of the boat so that approaching watercraft will be able to immediately tell that what they are seeing is another boat.