Have Questions? We Have Answers!
If you don’t find your answer here, please use the contact form below to send us an email.
Due to recent changes in regulations and fees are are unable to ship outside of the USA (with the exception of Australia) at this time.
We ship boat plans via UPS or USPS. To receive a shipping quote on a set of plans, add the item to your cart and enter your shipping info. You can place an order by completing the checkout process.
Sorry, we do not ship kits outside of the continental USA.
NOTE: US export laws prevent us from selling and/or shipping to certain countries. Those countries include but are not limited to – Belarus, Burundi, Central African Republic, Colombia, Congo, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Nicaragua, North Korea, Russia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, Venezuela, Yemen & Zimbabwe.
The FRS Series – Boat Plans
Each set of boat plans include detailed drawings specifying assembly of the boat that compliment the the how-to build a boat video series on YouTube. Most importantly, our boat plans come with full size patterns of every plywood part you need to build the boat. (Dimensional lumber is best cut to fit.) For the FRS-18, it also includes full size patterns of each cradle station. Full size patterns are a modern way of boat building. Traditionally, lofting was used, where a list of measurements were transferred to the plywood as points, requiring you to connect the dots to make the shape. Many competitors still use loftings, dimensioned drawings, or only offer patterns for a few items. Dimensioned drawings of each part still require you to redraw everything full scale on the plywood. Our full size patterns eliminate all of this, along with the guesswork. The only requirement is to cut and trace the patterns. So be sure you know what you’re buying before you make the purchase.
The FRS Series – Boat Kits
Each boat kit includes all of the plywood needed to build the boat precision cut by CNC. For the FRS-15, all parts are marine grade plywood, and become the final boat. For the FRS-18, all parts, except the cradle stations are marine grade plywood. The cradle stations are birch plywood since these do not become part of the completed boat. The boat kits include detailed drawings specifying assembly of the boat. Boat kits also include Coast Guard approved flotation foam that will be shipped to you separate from the plywood. Boat kits are not available for the FRS-12 or FRS-14 because the CNC and shipping cost would be more than the cost of a completed boat. The FRS-12 and FRS-14 are designed to be very cost effective builds, and with few parts, tracing and cutting full size patterns doesn’t take much time.
Which is right for me? The Boat Plans or the Boat Kit?
The smaller boats, like the FRS-12 and FRS-14 have very few patterns because they require very few parts, therefore we only offer them as boat plans. The larger the boat, the more patterns. For example, the FRS-18 has 7 times more patterns than a FRS-12. So it’s really up to you. The time savings and confidence the kit offers for the larger boats is worth the cost for some, while others wish to take their time, enjoy the process and do it themselves.
Our plans vary from the traditional boat plans since we provide full size templates or CNC cut parts for each boat design. We do this because it makes building a boat significantly easier, especially for first time builder. However, the use of full size templates removes the ability to stretch or scale the boat. We discourage any attempts to modify, alter or stretch these templates or add length to the hull. We follow several critical rules, proportions and calculations in the design of our hull shapes and structural support systems. This ensures the boat handles and performs correctly . Changing one feature or dimension ( ie: length, width or weight) can have a detrimental effect on performance and safety.
We don’t send digital files for legal and copyright reasons. We understand you want to be efficient. We offer CNC boat kits as well as boat plans that include full size patterns for easy tracing and cutting of all parts.
Full size templates for each part are printed on 3′ x 8′ plotter paper. Simply cut out the patterns, trace and cut the plywood. No need to measure or loft! Stitch and glue boat plans include templates for every part and our cold molded plans include templates for all parts of the jig. If cutting out parts from a template is not for you, we offer CNC cut plywood for several of our designs. These plywood kits must be picked up in Morehead City, NC or shipped in a crate via motor freight.
To better understand what parts are included and how to assemble a cold mold boat jig check out this video of our CS-21. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=up5bTiz1KBs
YES! You can build your own boat!
Flats River Skiff – The FRS designs are specifically for first time boat builders. When I opened Salt Boatworks my first goal was to design a boat that anyone could build. The FRS-12 was the boat, and it has proven to be a success and very popular design!
My 2nd goal was to share knowledge with others. I have been very fortunate to meet a lot of knowledgeable people in the boat building community who have graciously shared their knowledge with me. But I knew most people wouldn’t have these connections. Boat building isn’t hard, but just like anything else, there are important steps to follow to ensure a safe and long lasting boat. We videoed the entire FRS-12 build and posted it on YouTube so we can share the joy and satisfaction of boat building with you, and you can share it with others. I want you to be confident, but more importantly, enjoy the journey!
We recommend the following tools for the FRS series:
- Drill (corded or cordless 12v minimum)
- Jig saw to cut out parts (we highly recommend a circular saw for the 15 and 18 models)
- Sander, orbital /DA. 40-60 grit for sanding cured epoxy, 120 for wood and 220 for sanding primer.
- Router, if you have one great. If not, use the 40-60 grit on the sander to make the scarf
- A table saw or band saw for cutting down stock (Sometimes suppliers will cut down the wood for you)
- Hand saw for trimming the foam once cured and cutting stock to length
- 1” and 1.5” drywall screws with fender washers
- Clamps are useful, but drywall screws can be used instead
- Safety glasses, rubber gloves, dust mast, cups and stir sticks for epoxy
Core Sound & Carolina Series – Cold molded boat designs are intended for those with some boat building and/or wood working experience. With such experience, many tools you already own will serve multiple uses and therefore a comprehensive tool list is not practical.
However, some additional items I recommend are:
- Impact driver is great. Don’t skimp, you will put “high miles” on it
- Sander, orbital /DA. I like a 5” sander for wood working and then add a 6” foam backer pad with 6” paper for paint work
- Angle grinder, I love it, I keep finding new uses for this tool every time I build!
- Power planer, I can do everything with an angle grinder, however some people really like these so I can’t leave it off
- Clamps, hand plane, wood file/rasp, air compressor/blower
We wouldn’t build a boat out of anything less!
Marine grade plywood is unique in the combination of 3 key factors, rot resistant wood species, waterproof glue and uniform layers. Some exterior plywood’s may use waterproof glue and be treated to increase rot resistance, but epoxy does not bond properly to treated wood an the layers are not uniform. Some furniture grade plywood may used exotic species of wood for cosmetic reasons with uniform layers, but they almost always use water soluble glue. In short, don’t try to cheap out on the plywood, it is the backbone and structure of the boat and using the correct materials is important.
You can find a list of suppliers here – Plywood Suppliers
While wood is an unmatched material in terms of it’s strength, weight, cost and ease of use we understand that many people are concerned about rot. This is a valid concern but is often misunderstood. In years past (and even now!) low quality mold boat builders used wood not rated for marine environments with incompatible polyester and vinylester resins. With the superficial bond of ester resins and non marine grade plywood, a giant sponge for moisture has been created. But a boat built with marine grade plywood and epoxy resin is very different. With proper maintenance it can last longer than a fully composite boat since foam fatigues faster than wood.
We always use butt joints and joining plates where possible, it is very simple and sufficiently strong. HOWEVER, using a joining plate on a curved surface such as the hull bottom or hull side is not feasible. There are a few reasons why but it’s all about the curvature of the panel – The panel needs to curve into a fair shape, this requires consistent resistance which is driven by the plywood thickness. Doubling the thickness with a plate in one spot will create a flat spot and an unfair surface (it will look like a mud fence). It will also create a stress concentration where the doubling plate ends and the transition of panel thickness is cut in half immediately.
When we design our boats, wood is used as the main structural component of the entire build (not the fiberglass). Wood’s mechanical properties are utilized to give the hull it’s strength and the fiberglass is used to reinforce joints, increase abrasion resistance, and further increase overall strength. We decide on a bottom thickness, place our stringers & transverse frames and all other decisions based on Naval Architecture calculations.
Simply swapping wood for aluminum is not possible. The mechanical properties of aluminum are very different and the whole structural support system of the hull would have to be redesigned and recalculated.
Marine grade core foam (don’t even think of using insulation foam board) is not an even swap either. Foam (exception of Coosa) has minimal structural properties on it’s own. The strength of a foam cored boat comes from the inner and outer fiberglass skins and their bond to the foam. A full re-evaluation of the structure would be needed and adjustments for the different construction methods incorporated. To build a comparable for our FRS-15 out of foam core panel instead of plywood would would result in a panel that is 1.6 times heavier and cost 2.4 times as much. Another key detail is that our designs use flat panels so that the shapes can be created with plywood. To attempt to build such a panel with foam would result in warping, flat spots, and deformation over time.
These are the two most asked question and rightfully so.
NOTE: We have updated these estimates as of June 2023.
Flats River Skiff – FRS
Flats River Skiff boat designs are specifically for the first time builder. We prioritized simplicity without sacrificing aesthetics or function, and optimized build time and materials. A basic materials list can be found on each page. Pricing this out for your location will give you the most accurate price when you build your boat.
General estimates of cost and time (labor hours, not including cure times) without engine or electronics.
FRS-12 $1000-$1300 & 40-50 hours – Built & painted
FRS-14 $1200-$1500 & 50-75 hours – Built & painted
FRS-15 $2500-$3500 & 80-100 hours – Built & painted
FRS-18 $4000-$5500 & 125-200 hours – Built & painted
Core Sound & Carolina Series
Cold Molded boat designs are intended for those with some boat building and/or wood working experience. These boats are built with a strong back & jig and utilize the cold mold method of construction.
We provide a materials list to build and glass the hull. Pricing this for your location will give you the base price. Beyond this point you are free to configure, paint, and rig the hull however you chose. The result is a truly unique one of a kind boat, with a cost and time frame just as unique.
Things to consider are: primer & paint, hardware (cleats, rod holders, etc), engine & rigging, fuel tank, electrical & electronics, and interior features like a console. Many items can be found for competitive prices online if you invest the time searching.
Some general estimates of cost without engine or electronics to help you get started –
CS-18: $20k with basic finishes, and as a mini yacht $30-35k
CS-21 $25k with basic finishes, and as a mini yacht: $35-45k
C-25 $30-40k with basic finishes, and as a mini yacht: $50-70k
Time is equally difficult to estimate as each home build is unique. An estimate for someone working nights and weekends to build the Core Sound models would be: 5-6 months to build and glass the hull. Once flipped another 6-7 months to glass the bilge, put in the floor and gunnel cap. This does not include building a console or any interior items, finish work, or rigging. Plan another 6-18 months for this depending on how complex the interior and how shiny you want the paint. Add ~30% to these time lines for the Carolina 25. If you have built a boat before, these times can be reduced.
The short answer is…. YES!
Epoxy is just as much of an adhesive as it is a resin. Its ability to bond wood and other boat building substrates is phenomenal. Ester resins such as vinylester and polyester are not adhesives, so any bond to wood is superficial. Ester resins work great in mold boat construction but fail miserably when used with wood or as an adhesive. Many mold boat builders even use epoxy to make repairs and join already cured parts together because of its adhesive properties.
You can find a list of epoxy suppliers here – Epoxy Suppliers
ALWAYS READ AND FOLLOW MANUFACTURERS DIRECTIONS AND WARNINGS. Safety is always the most important thing in boat building. The comments below are for reference only.
Many agree marine grade epoxy is safe when used properly and with the proper protective gear. One long term health risk associated with epoxy is called sensitization. This occurs thru contact with skin and respiratory exposure. Some people will sensitize easier than others and no one knows how quickly your body will respond. We recommend using gloves, working in a well ventilated area with a respirator and safety glasses. Some manufacturers say to always wear a respirator; some say adequate ventilation is sufficient. There are also different formulations of epoxy, and some claim significantly lower risks of sensitization than others.
Epoxy formulations are a science. Thankfully all you need to do is follow the mix ratio of resin and hardener supplied by the manufacturer. Hand pumps that screw in the top of the container work great. If you are building a large boat, a dispensing unit is a great investment. Don’t mix too much as the reaction is exothermic (generates heat) and a large concentration can burn you! Mixing in repurposed (but clean) plastic food containers is our preferred method. Stir the mixture thoroughly, but not fast. You don’t want a lot of bubbles or for it to splash out! Large Popsicle/craft sticks work great as stir sticks and are cheap. Once the resin is fully mixed the color will be fully uniform. If you see swirls of different colors keep stirring. It can be applied with a chip brush, foam roller, or poured and squeegeed.
To make thickened epoxy follow the steps listed above completely before adding fumed silica or another thickening agent. The addition of any additives prior to full mixture will prevent proper cure. Start with a small amount of fumed silica and stir it in until any clumps disappear. Continue to add a little at a time since adding too much can ruin your batch. The correct consistency for thickened epoxy is best described as being between mayonnaise and peanut butter. You can use an old gift card to spread if you are filling holes. A PVC elbow is great for making radii in corners (boat builders trick, don’t tell anybody I told you :)). And a small notched trowel is key for a good glue joint, scarf, or lamination.
If you are adding a fairing filler, fully mix the epoxy as noted above. Once fully mixed, add in the fairing filler referencing the manufactures guidelines and stir until all clumps disappear. (A rough estimate is acceptable for this.) The epoxy will seem marginally thicker, but flow like slime. This is ok for a horizontal surface, but if your surface has any slope to it, add a little fumed silica to thicken it slightly. This will reduce runs and make for easier sanding. We have the best luck applying this mixture with a chip brush due to its consistency.
Here is a video of us mixing epoxy and adding fumed silica to create thickened epoxy.
If you purchase one of our kits we will provide a hull ID number (HIN) and if the boat is 20′ or less a capacity placard.
If you purchase a set of plans, you will be required to obtain your own HIN from your local boat registering agency (state govement, wildlife office, department to natural resources, etc.)
Typically, any place that you can purchase a hunting & fishing license can assist you with obtaining a HIN and registering your boat, or at least tell you who to contact. FYI, a boat built from plans will be registered as a homemade boat. A boat built from a kit will be registered as a Salt Boatworks hull and you will not need to apply for a HIN.
Information on how and where to place the capacity placard and HIN can be found in this USCG published document in the sections “capacity label” and “hull identification number” http://newboatbuilders.com/docs/backyardboatbuilders.pdf
We strive to design all of our boats to meet the guidelines and recommendations of the USCG. However, the Coast Guard has no regulations concerning the sale of boat plans, only kits 20′ in length overall (LOA) or less. Therefore we cannot legally claim compliance on anything we sell except our kits of 20′ LOA or less. Those kits include pre-cut plywood, plans detailing assembly, pour-able 2 part flotation foam, a capacity placard (max HP, max number of people, and max weight capacity is listed) and a hull ID number.
For both our boat kits and boat plans, it is the builders responsibility to comply with all regulations such as (but not limited to) navigation lights, fuel systems, electrical systems, safety gear, registration of the boat with state government, etc. The USCG has published “Safety Standards for Backyard Boat Builders” to assist home builders with this. http://newboatbuilders.com/docs/backyardboatbuilders.pdf
The document can be a bit overwhelming. But don’t worry, we’ve already done all the hard work:
Our FRS-12 and FRS-14 models are designed within the guidelines outlined in the sections of “safe power”, “safe loading”, “basic flotation” and “flotation materials”.
All of our other plans, 20′ LOA or less, are designed within the guidelines outlined in the sections “safe powering”, “safe loading”, “basic flotation”, “level flotation”, “location of flotation material”, and “flotation materials”. In addition to those, our kits include a capacity placard and HIN, which should be affixed as reference in sections “capacity label” and “hull identification number”.
This information can be a bit much to process, feel free to contact us if you have any questions.