Boat building is blowing up. More than 137,000 Americans work in ship and boat construction.
But this number accounts for just a fraction of boat building in the United States. DIY boat building is becoming more commonplace, even amongst people who are inexperienced with construction.
Where do you begin on how to DIY build a boat? Where should you construct your boat? What do you need to do once your vessel is complete?
Answer these questions and you can take to the high seas on your handmade boat in no time. Here is your quick guide.
1. Decide on a Metal or Wooden Boat
A wooden boat has an old-fashioned appearance, but it can be just as reliable as metal boats. A metal boat is sturdier and it can create a modern and sleek aesthetic.
If you are familiar with one material or the other, you should focus on that material for boat making. If you are unfamiliar with wood or metalworking, you will need to study the materials carefully. See if you can visit a community center and take classes on building with them.
You should also decide how you want to use your boat. Learning how to build a fishing boat is different than learning how to build a sailboat. You need different components, so pick one type of boat and study its specifications.
2. Get Your Parts for DIY Boat Building
Once you have your type of boat, you can start getting materials for boat building at home. If you are new to DIY construction, you should follow the specifications of a particular how-to guide.
Buy the exact amounts that your guide specifies. You may want to buy excess in case the materials break or wear down during construction.
You can go to a DIY construction store or a retail chain like The Home Depot. While you are there, ask a staffer for advice as you go about your project.
3. Calculate Your Expenses
You can start calculating how much your project will cost by researching the materials you will need. But your project will require more money than your materials.
You will need to devote some time to your construction project. It is difficult to build a boat during your off-hours, so you may need to take a day off of work. Add the expense of your missed hours to your overall budget.
You will also need to spend money on transportation and electricity. Charging tools and running lights so you can work at night will cost money, especially for a long project like this one.
4. Find a Good Work Area
Most people build a boat in their backyard. You can do the same, provided that your backyard is flat and spacious. You should be able to run extension cords out so you can charge your tools without having to go inside.
If you don’t have a good backyard, you can work inside a garage. You don’t need significant headspace, but you should have enough room to stand over the sides of your boat.
Your work area should have room for an emergency station. You should have a first-aid kit and emergency eyewash tools in case you get wood splinters or metal dust in your eyes.
5. Start Building
Don’t hesitate on your project. The longer you put off your DIY boat building, the higher the likelihood is that you will abandon the build.
Print out multiple copies of your instructions and lay them around your work area. Keep one copy on your person at all times.
You should follow the instructions as they are written. Neglecting steps or trying to speed up the process may damage the integrity of your boat.
You may be able to complete your project on your own. But you may need help, especially when moving heavy objects. Have someone on standby, even when you don’t think you need them.
6. Add Other Components
Though you should follow your instructions, you can add additional parts. A stainless boat propeller will help your boat navigate through the water, even in choppy conditions. See if you can add a propeller to the back of your boat.
Add your own visual touches to your boat. When the outside is sturdy, paint it in the colors that you like. Feel free to stencil a name or drawing onto your boat for easy identification.
7. Test Your Boat on the Water
Try to avoid taking your boat out to a natural body of water. If you test your boat on a river, you risk being swept away in the current.
Find a place like a harbor where you can get help if you need it. Put the boat on the water and then start operating it. Move it forward, accelerate the speed, and steer it left and right.
Your boat may float without taking on any water. But you may have some difficulty turning your boat, even with a good sail.
Make adjustments until your boat is right. Don’t take to the ocean or seas with a vessel that you are not confident in.
The Essentials of DIY Boat Building
DIY boat building does not have to sink you. Spend plenty of time researching materials and types of boats you can build. Get your parts and calculate their expenses, including construction costs.
You should find a construction area that gives you plenty of room. Then you should start work once you feel ready.
Get a guide and follow its instructions, but decorate the boat as you see fit. When everything is assembled, hit the water and see how your boat performs.
Building a boat is just one DIY project you can start. Find out more by following our coverage.