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Buying a shell and fitting it out.

Buying a boat shell, and fitting it out yourself? Work out your budget, find a handy location or mooring . Ask the builder for the internal dimensions of the cabin sole/floor. I like to get the dimensions for the floor and height of the gunwales.

Your floor size is X and your gunwale height is y. Gunwale height is not that important but good to know.

Use graph paper to make a scale drawing.

Fitting out a boat will require graph paper to make a scale drawing of your cabin floor (A1-A3 size). Mark out the rooms to the sizes you require on the actual cabin floor and transfer the sizes to the graph paper. Taking into account the battening you will use. (I use to use 25 x 38mm roofing slats).  Make the drawing as big as the graph paper will allow. You can use metric or imperial measurements. I found it easier to do things in meters but boat builder tend to do things in feet and inches, so be careful and make it clear. Discuss it with the builder and stick to the agreed format. Make it clear on your drawings.

Keep the fittings and furniture as standard as possible. Bespoke is expensive.

You’ve made a scale drawing of the cabin floor. It makes sense to keep all the fittings and furniture as standard as possible. That include sinks, beds, shower bases & everything else. It will reduce the costs and make the job easier. Another tip is to buy or measure the sinks, beds and everything you want to be in the boat before you make the drawing, so that you know the full size.

Now on your drawing roughly draw where you would like your bedroom, this room is almost determined by the size of your bed, fitted cupboards and how much room you would like around the furniture to walk. There are standard size beds, use these to keep things simple and reduce cost. Or go mad and get a custom bed (Very expensive). I use to make generous bedrooms, about 3.1 meters long.

If you want a bath, you will need a huge water tank, calorifier and big bathroom.

Next draw the bathroom where you would like it. If you take everything into account, a generous bathroom will normally be about 1.9 meters long. Depending on weather you want a bath or shower. If you want a bath, you will need a huge water tank, calorifier and big bathroom, not really practical in my opinion but everything is possible.

Next draw the galley. Determine the size of the galley, using standard kitchen units and equipment, set up how you would like it. Use your local DIY shop to get sizes.

Now that’s all done, you can see what you have left.

Now that’s all done, you can see what you have left. That will be your living room, the only room that doesn’t have a set size for equipment. You will need to make some adjustments, as I have given you a starting point with generous size rooms.

I liked a so-called reverse layout, bedroom in the bow, moving back the bathroom, back from that the living room and finally the galley. You may want to do things differently. Buying a boat shell, and fitting it out yourself is an expensive business. Chose your layout carefully.

In a narrow boat, I like a walk-through bathroom for more room and in a wide beam a private bathroom to the side, but that’s me. All up to you but if you have any questions pleas get in touch through my contact page.

Do not forget to take into account the thickness of the bulkhead walls. This is up to you.

I’m blogging this information to help you get started in the very confusing world of building your own boat. It’s a fantastic life and I want to help but please take into account, I’ve built lots of boats so its simple to me. You will need to ask questions so please do. This is just the start of what is a very big expensive project. If you do it right you will have a fantastic home or holiday home.  

Published by oceanstrider2

An old boy with a plan to see the world.

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