Boat Building: What you need to get started

Boat building is a growing hobby these days. This task is one that is not only challenging but also extremely rewarding. Construction of any boat always begins with the help of a plan. With the right type of supplies, some patience, and some minor construction knowledge you can get to the point where you could build a quality wooden boat. You could also consider a boat built out of fiberglass materials to enjoy your local waterways at any time.

Building a boat can deliver an incredible amount of freedom. In this article, we will take you through some of the basics of boat building so you can be ready to take on the water in a boat you construct yourself!

Where to find boat building supplies

There are a number of excellent spots to find boat building supplies at extremely reasonable prices. With the right materials, you can assemble any plan that you may have, or found online. consider making a list and then sourcing all of the applicable materials in some of the spots listed below:

Local hardware stores:

A local hardware store can often provide you with any of the wood supplies and even some of the extra items that you may need in boat building. Hardware stores stock items like rope, epoxy and waterproof coatings, all essential in the building of any sea worthy vessel. Your local hardware store can be an excellent way to source some of the main components you need for boat building.

Online classifieds:

Online classifieds sites can also be great for a boat builder. This one of the best places to pick up used boat building supplies. You may be able to even re-purpose an old boat hull into something that would be usable for your own project.

Online Marine supply sites:

Using a Marine supply site or a specific website that is designed with complete kits can be a great way to get everything you need to build about shipped to your house.

Why boat building kits are a great option for beginners:

Boat building kits are generally one of the best options for beginners because they can include all of the basic items that you need to craft a boat that can go out into your local waterways. Some of the biggest advantages you can get using a boat building kit if you are a beginner include:

Having a complete plan:

As part of a boat building kit, you will get detailed instructions and a full plan for your boat. The entire boat construction can go together through these blueprints and there is no need to handle any of the designing, testing etc.

They are time-saving:

In many cases, a boat building kit will come with materials that are already pre-cut and measured. This can save so much time in the process of putting together the boat as well as with keeping it watertight. Through the exact measurements, the boat building kit will be easier to assemble and a much easier process for beginners.

All the materials in one place:

Instead of having to source all of the materials, they come is one big package for an easier setup for an aspiring boat builder. 

How to start your boat building plans

When getting started with a boat building plan there are a number of items that you should consider as you are setting up. Here are a few considerations that any boat builder needs to account for:

Having lots of space and a way out:

Having an area where you will have extra space to work as the boat gets bigger is very important. Know the dimensions of your space and the final size of the boat. Ensure that you can easily move the boat outside when you are finished.

Proper ventilation:

As any boat will likely have to be sealed up and painted, working with a number of stronger scented coatings and materials ensures that any boat builder will need to have proper ventilation in the area where they are working.

Don’t take on too much at once:

A boat building plan is not a project that you can take on over a day or two. Generally, these are kits which are designed to be put together over months and then maintained. Building a boat is a big commitment and it’s important to recognize that commitment in yourself before starting the plan.

The main difference between fiberglass boat building and wooden boat building

When starting a boat building project it is likely that you have made the choice between fiberglass or wood. These are some of the two most popular types of boat kits on the market today.

Ultimately the performance difference between these two types of boats is relatively minimal. The big difference between the two types is an issue of modern materials versus classical elegance. It really all depends on the type of individual you are.

Wooden Boats:

Building a wooden boat pays tribute to the craftsman of old that built these types of boats as a necessity. Wooden sailboats have always been admired pieces of art. This craftsmanship does, however,  require an extensive amount of upkeep even after they are completely assembled.

Fiberglass Boats:

Fiberglass boats offer a more modern material. They can be easier to clean and a little bit simpler to care for as well. Where fiberglass fall short, however, is in its classical look. Fiberglass boats have an advantage over wooden boats in that can be painted in many styles. Fiberglass never quite stacks up with the same coveted look of craftsmanship that a wooden boat can deliver.

Boat building school for taking this beyond a hobby:

If you find yourself extremely passionate about the idea of building boats, you could do it full time.  Many people find working with their hands to be very rewarding. Consider going to school and pursuing your newfound passion and taking it on as a profession. Going to a boat building school and turning your hobby into a true job opportunity. This could one day have you working for a major boat manufacturer.

Here are some of the top boat building resources available:


Working with fiberglass and wood could allow you to work on boats or even start your own boat repair shop. Skills with fiberglass or even patching/ maintaining boats could keep you employed almost indefinitely. These type of jobs are in high demand. Especially if you live in an area where a number of the local residents often require this type of work.


Building a boat can be one of the most rewarding projects that you ever take on. Through the DIY approach of gathering plans and materials, you can slowly build up elements of your boat over time. With a full boat kit, you can have everything you need to start creating a boat from scratch.

Whatever option you choose, learning this hobby could help you take on a spectacular skill that could land you a new career opportunity someday!