How To Design A Boat

There are copious steps that go into a lesson on how to design a boat. With so many material choices, propulsion options and sizing variations, the novice or seasoned marine vessel builder is sure to find a challenging but nevertheless doable model. When discovering how to design a boat that meets your current needs, have the following materials handy:

  • Price lists for materials
  • Sketch pad and pencil
  • Proposed boat weight
  • Size limitations

Of course, when it finally comes down to following the step-by-step instructions that govern how to design a boat, be mindful of keeping them in order:

  1. Clarify the boat's use. A fishing vessel has different size and weight requirements than a Duffy boat you might use for puttering around the harbor or bay. With the use, differences also come the bottom-line design differentiations of the hulls, such as hard or soft chine designs, and the shapes. This is especially true when adding decks, cabins and other features. Consider man-made materials options for a smaller kayak; wood can be a good choice for a row boat.
  2. Agree on a budget. Learning how to design a boat demands that the designer and builder stay well within budgetary constraints. Unless the boat’s use dictates the choice of material, the budget is sure to influence this choice as well as any design extras. By far the cheapest boats to design are rafts without keels, which work well when planning on beach landings only.
  3. Draw the boat on the sketch pad. This phase of learning how to design a boat introduces the marine builder to precision drawing that must be to scale. Decide on using the metric system, which allows for more detailed definitions.
  4. Visit a seasoned boat designer for input. Even if this is the third, fifth or seventh boat you design, it pays to have another set of eyes take a look at the blueprints. Vetting the design for potential flaws and pitfalls protects against the wasted expense of additional material later on.

Remember that discovering how to design a boat is an exciting adventure. It also takes quite a bit of time and generally does not get completed in an afternoon or two. Approach it as a labor of love and the odds are good that the process will be just as enjoyable as the finished vessel itself.

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