Major Boat Plan and Kit Suppliers

There are many suppliers of boat plans and kits listed on the Web. Many are operations that have been in the business for many years; often having outlived their founders. Over this time they have built up extensive inventories of boat designs, covering several materials/techniques within their inventory. Others are of relatively recent origin, with correspondingly small inventories of designs.

 

Materials

Individual designs are frequently offered with alternative materials of construction. Examples are aluminium added as alternative to steel, and aluminium to ply. These alternatives take advantage of the increasing availability of materials, and for many designs can be implemented with little change to the design’s character or operation. For instance, building a boat in aluminium rather than steel will normally result in a somewhat lighter hull, for equivalent strength/stiffness. This will not make significant changes in the operation of a displacement extended range cruising vessel. Choice of material can be made for other reasons, such as the better corrosion resistance of aluminium relative to steel, or (probably most important) the intending builder’s preference, comfort or expertise in working the material.

 

Kits

Kits come in 2 main variants. The first (traditional) is ancillary items – fastenings, resin packs, etc. The second (more recent) is sheet parts (typically aluminium, steel, plywood) that can be used to shape up and generate the hull structure. Ply stitch and glue lends itself very well to kit construction (as an alternative to the builder marking out the component shapes on own material).

Computer aided design (CAD) has made the generation of shapes for boat kit components much easier and more affordable. How the components are generated doesn’t really matter; the availability does.

A key feature of kits for hull shells is that shell components can be cut out to predetermined shapes, bent and fastened together, and then pulled into final shape. In some cases transverse and longitudinal components can be joined together to parts of the vessel shape.

Kits for sheet parts can be supplied as sheets of material with components held into complete sheets by bridge pieces, or as cutting files for the boatbuilder/purchaser to arrange local supply of plates/sheets and local cutting.

Choice between drawings and kits may be a matter of individual preference. In some cases the choice may be forced by what is on offer for the preferred design.

 

Suppliers

In this section I have tried to give some review of what the vendor is offering through his website. Many will offer full size templates for frame shapes, cutting information for piece parts, pre-cut parts (kit form), specialised kits of fastenings or other support material, etc. These are commonly offered as options.

This page offers outlines for each supplier, with more extensive information on the supplier’s individual page. Where a supplier appears to be of interest, you need to look at the supplier’s website, and the design(s) that interest you to guide your decisions.

Listings on this page, and in the menu structure are alphabetical.

 

Bateau

This Florida-based firm (E-Boat Inc) has been supplying boat plans and services since 1976; online since 1991. It offers support materials and kits as well as the boat design packages. Go to the Bateau website to see what is on offer.

Smaller boats are built from ply stitch and glue; larger boats make use of light ply stitch and glue with GRP skins, and GRP foam sandwich in some instances.

Designs are grouped into small, sail, power and speciality boat plans.

 

 

Boatplans.dk

This Denmark site offers a range of small boats for stitch and glue construction; many drawn from traditional Northern European designs. There are information sheets and photos for each design. Each design is purchased separately, and offers dimensions in both inch and metric units.

Designs are offered for canoes, small, sail and motor boats.

 

 

 Boden Boat Plans

Cecil E Boden and Associates was established in Sydney around 1954. From then Cecil Boden specialised in steel and timber pleasure craft and small commercial tugs, work boats and fishing trawlers. He published 10 editions of his well known Bodens Boat Design Book selling in all 100 000 copies.

Many of the larger designs offer considerable scope for variations in configuration. Also, many designs offer a choice of materials. A number of designs are offered for commercial operation.

Each design has a page of specifications, notes and illustrations, with plan package prices. Study plans are available.

The website has 60 designs for power boats, smaller boats in aluminium, and larger boats mainly steel hulls.  Thefre are also  19 designs for sail boats, mainly steel cruising boats.

Groups of study plans are also available.

 

 

Bowdidge Marine Designs

This Queensland-based supplier is a relatively new starter in the boat plans market. It offers 26 designs, ply epoxy stitch and glue, and strip plank, mainly open/cuddy outboard powered trailable boats.

 

Denman Marine, of Tasmania, offer Bowdidge’s Mushulu 14 as a ply kit. See the Bowdidge Marine Designs page for particulars.

 

  • Go to Bowdidge Marine Designs page – click here

 

Brooks Boats Designs

This Maine-based site has grown out of a family boatbuilding business,and specialises in small glued clinker rowing and sailing boats.

 

 

Bruce Roberts Yacht Design

Bruce Roberts-Goodson founded Bruce Roberts Yacht Design in Brisbane in 1966, and later additional design offices in USA, Holland and Ireland. He takes an active role in the development of designs by his extended design team. Further particulars of Bruce are on his website.

Bruce Roberts designs offer 200 boat plans, with an increasing range. Some designs list over 200 boats built.

There are 2 Bruce Roberts Yacht Designs sites – the world site and the Australian site -essentially covering the same range of designs, under a variety of groupings. Each design has its page, with descriptions and photos.

 

  • Go to Bruce Roberts Yacht Design page – click here

 

CNC Marine

This Perth (Western Australia)  based firm was started in 2005, and is building up a range of plate aluminium boats. These are essentially offered as design packages only,  cutting files and plans, and complete aluminium flat packs. The boats are mainly in the 5 – 6 m range.

Plans are available, with comprehensive information, for free download for study purposes.

 

 

Designer Boats Australia

This firm, based in Sanctuary Point, on the south coast of NSW, Australia was founded and is operated by Peter Booth. It offers designs and flat pack aluminium kits and other related services, for both amateur and professional builders.

Pdf arrangement/construction drawings are available on the website, as well as vessel descriptions, photos and illustrations.  Welding schedules and Australian Builders Plate particulars are provided for some designs.

9 outboard powered trailable aluminium boat designs are offered, some with variants; 4.6 m – 7.6 m.  A 5.7 m GRP runabout is also offered.

 

  • Go to Designer Boats Australia page – click here

 

Fine Line Boat Plans & Designs

Incorporating Bruce Roberts International

Over thirty years the Bruce Roberts Design team has produced hundreds of designs from which over 20 000 boats have been built world wide, including power and sail pleasure boats, commercial and fishing boats.

Designs are offered  in GRP, wood epoxy, steel/aluminium, with some kit options. You can look at individual designs by working through the catalogue groups on the extensive website.

Construction materials offered are wood epoxy, GRP, steel/aluminium. Both study plans (multiple sheets and material lists) and full plans and patterns are available.

 

  • Go to Fine Line Boat Plans & Designs page – click here

 

 Glen-L

This California-based firm was started in 1953  by naval architect Glen L Witt, and has produced designs for over 300 boats.

Glen-L offers boat plans and patterns to support construction, study plans for some of the larger vessels, fastening kits (silicon  bronze screws and nails), fibreglass kits (resin and cloth) for covering of structures, stitch and glue kits, sailboat kits (hardware, rigging and sails), and extensive supporting material (publications and videos).  There is also a wide-ranging boatbuilders forum.

Many boat types and construction techniques are supported.

 

 

Global Marine Design

Global Marine Design, led by designer Gavin Mair, is based in Henderson, near Fremantle, Western Australia, offer Marine Kits. These provide complete pre-cut aluminium flat pack parts, including stringers, to support the building of boats by the home builder or professional. Supporting sub-systems are also available; described on the website. Drawings and a building manual are supplied with each Marine Kit.

Around 120 – 140 unique designs are listed, including a significant number of catamarans. There are 12 categories. Many boats are outside scope for the home builder.

 

 

Hartley Boat Plans

This Auckland based business has been selling boat plans since 1938. More that 95 000 Hartley boats have been built world-wide.

Designs are provided for Canoes to Ocean Cruisers, and Fishing and Work Boats, with construction in plywood, wood, grp/frp, steel, aluminium and ferrocement. The designs are in the ranges of Hartley Boats and Samson Boats.

It is believed that there have been more Hartley ferrocement boats built than those of all other designers added together.

 

 

Plate Alloy Australia

This firm, with cutting and fabricating facilities, is based in Cheltenham, Victoria.

The website gives particulars on a restricted range of recreational vessels (31 monohull and 5 power cats)  and refers to commercial vessels and other products.

Purchasing options and arrangements are not provided on the website.

 

 

Specmar Australia

This firm, based in Hervey Bay, Queensland, offers precut aluminium parts from stock designs or from client designs.

Designs offered are drift, sports and special purpose boats, landing craft and RIBs. The USA site Specmar Inc offers more boats in each range than this (the Australian) site.

 

 

Specmar Inc

 

This company is based in Scappoose, Oregon, USA, and specialises in the design and computer lofting of welded aluminium boats. Clients are both boatbuilding firms and individuals.

Supply is generally of the CAD data and drawings, with the option of supply of pre-cut plate parts.

Designs offered are drift, sports and special purpose boats, landing craft and RIBs. This website offers more boats in each range than the Australian site Specmar Australia.

 

 

Trailaway Boat Kits

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Bulk Designs Packages

These are 2 closely resembling sites; both offering 25 “folders” of boat categories. One site offers over 518 boat plans; the other 254 boat plans. The packages appear to be available only by purchased download.

 

  • Go to Two Bulk Designs Packages page – click here

 

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