Aluminum Boat Project Part 2


Aluminum Boat Modifications

In my previous post I wrote about some aluminum boat modifications, specifically modifying a Springbok aluminum utility boat to make it a little more of a fishing boat, or at least bring it up to what the manufacturers are doing with an aluminum boat these days.

I am talking about adding some floors and decks along with some other creature comforts like swivel seats and perhaps a fishfinder, some running lights and maybe even remote steering and throttle controls to my aluminum boat. I’m not sure about the remote steering and throttle controls yet but I am considering it. Aluminum boat modifications are relatively easy to do with some basic hand tools.

Carpeting An Aluminum Boat

So here is where I am now. In some respects I am finished, or thought I was, but the more I look at it, the more I want to do. I have added carpeted seats, a carpeted bow deck and a carpeted floor midships in the boat, which was what I planned from the beginning.

Surprisingly, the flat floor makes the boat feel a little more stable, and the wider stern seat and the plywood running to the transom is helpful. I also the love the look of the deck in the bow. One of my neighbors remarked that it was like I had a new boat. Well not quite yet but it is coming.

I am considering my next moves, which may also include a floor in front of the middle seat and perhaps a storage compartment under the bow seat. However, to be honest I have so many irons in the fire right now….(I have no idea how I found time to work)….So when I will get back to the next phase of the project is hard to say, perhaps over the winter if I bring the boat home to the garage.

Here is a pic of the aluminum boat with the new floor and deck…..

It’s still an old aluminum boat, but it feels much newer to me….lol….and the carpet adds a certain….well…coziness….just like the big boats have….The only drawback is the weight…OMG the weight! I added a substantial amount of weight to this little boat, however it doesn’t seem to affect the speed much at all, in my test runs it seems to be almost as fast as it ever was.


What I may have lost in speed I have gained in stabilty and comfort. The added weight and the floor reduces the pounding that I would usually get in this boat when the water was choppy and turning in the wind she feels much less likely to blow around. I like that aspect very much.

This was not difficult to do, in fact it was quite easy once I figured out the dimensions and cutting for the bow deck. That was the trickiest part. The floor was easy as it is a simple rectangle. After a few mistakes I got it right. I took the measurements and then drew the shape actual size on a piece of cardboard. I cut that out and used it as a template to ensure a fit. Then I traced that on the plywood and cut it out.

I put a support board under the middle of the floor and for good measure threw in some foam swimming ‘noodles’ which add some extra support, don’t weigh much and I suppose add a little floatation. I didn’t mess with the boats existing floatation at all.

In total, I didn’t keep track I am ashamed to say, I suppose I spent $150 for plywood, wood sealer, carpet, and screws. Not  a lot of money. If I was doing it again, might have gone with a little thinner plywood on the seats, but not the deck. I would have also ran some wiring before I started putting in the plywood, but it is only screwed down, not too difficult to remove if necessary.

Update

After using the boat all summer, I am pleased with the new floor and carpet. It handles much better in the wind, and the carpet and floor make it feel quite stable. I have decided to not put a floor between the midship seat and the bow seat. That is because I would lose some depth and inturn space by putting in a raised floor. It would also add more weight and it is heavy enough now.

While I had considered remote steering and throttle I realize now that is not practical for a small boat of this nature, nor do I think remote gear is as good as tiller steering and throttle control for trolling fishing.

Instead of mounting a permanent fish finder, I use my portable fishfinder which I can remove easily. Adding a battery and wiring for running lights would be more nuisance and more weight so I am using a LED Battery Navigation Bow Light and LED Battery Navigation Stern Light that clamp on and are powered by “D” batteries.

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