Tiernan adds that the reason most boats for sale today are made of fiberglass is that they can be made by semiskilled and unskilled workers who are cheaper to hire than the skilled craftspeople needed to build a wooden boat.
Another is that when we build in wood or commission others to do so, we are helping to maintain an important tradition. I wonder also whether the argument that building from wood is environmentally friendly has really been made. PS Fans of the US designer John Atkin will be interested to know that Tiernan is currently weblogging the build of a clinker-built Atkin Ninigret. PPS I’d draw your attention to some of the comments below, particularly those of West Country boat designer, occasional building and general sailing man John Hesp.
Gavin, most of Tiernan's list deals with the engineering advantages of wood, as if we bought boats based on these facts. Trees have been growing, falling over, rotting, releasing CO2 into the atmosphere for years and it hasn't caused a massive increase in atmospheric CO2. I do see what you mean – it seems unreasonable to reduce these issues to numbers and engineering criteria when one of the key reasons we go boating is often to get away from such prosaic considerations. Nevertheless, these issues are worth considering as I'm sure your inner designer will concede, and the environmental questions are much more subtle than most of us thought at the beginning. And of course, carbon emissions are tightly connected to economic activity and human activity in general. On the other side of the issue, some fraction of whatever carbon there is in a plastic boat will remain locked in the material for a very long time. You don't think you've been led down the garden path by what sounds a rather journalistic BBC article? Ironing and washing, to be fair – both need more heat where cotton shirts are concerned. One interesting little tidbit I read recently is that the meat industry in one way or another, contributes significantly more to global warming than transportation, worldwide.
One other nice thing about wooden boats, which has already been touched on a bit, but a nice one is gives pleasure to people, even when they aren't normally interested in boats. If the global warming cost of fossil fuels is added to that fuel we find ourselves playing a very different game.
Did you know that one barrel of oil contains the same amount of energy as 12 men working for one year?
Image coming back to shore after a day on the water on a foggy day in an aluminum boat and the oars are clunking against metal.
Have you got news for us?If what you're doing is like the things you read about here - please write and tell us what you're up to. Classic Sailor is a new magazine about traditional and classic boats from ex-Classic Boat editor Dan Houston and colleagues that promises rather more coverage of the traditional craft around our coast. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Follow me on TwitterLooking for something?This is a busy weblog, and what you're looking for is probably still here - just a little way down the list now.
Our Faversham-based friend Alan Thorne can help with boatbuilding projects - constructing to plans in very tidy stitch-and-glue or more traditional techniques. Recreational in nature, the cabin cruiser’s majority of comforts is below the hull and includes sleeping, cooking and kitchen facilities. Usually 40 feet and larger in length, yachts are ideal for cruising on the ocean or the Great Lakes and navigating large rivers.
Equipped with an outboard motor on the stern (back) and a trolling motor on the stern bow (front), bass boats sit low on the water, sport a sleek profile and are dreaded by fish the world over. In the simplest terms, saltwater boats tend to be larger and deeper than their freshwater counterparts.
In bays and harbors, on inland waterways or even miles out onto coastal waters, there are many places to go saltwater fishing, and there's the right type of saltwater boat to bring you to each place. For those staying close to shore or in the bays and channels, small fishing boats similar to those used on freshwater can be used. When it’s time to leave behind the safety of the bay and the calm of the lake, center console open fishing boats are the perfect choice to take you big-game fishing in rough, offshore waters.
When you’re ready to tackle the big one, whether you’re on a great lake or out on the big blue, walkarounds equipped with livewells, rod holders and 360-degree access are right for you. Measuring anywhere between 26 and 100 feet, sportfishing boats are meant to help you find (and even stay) where the fish are. Welcome to the perfect “showboats.” Inboard wake and ski boats are specifically designed for towing skiers and boarders.
Versatile by nature, inflatables are a wonderful option if you’re looking for a lightweight, maneuverable vessel. Dinghies are small boats (inflatables, rowboats, sailboats or boats equipped with a small outboard motor) that can be carried or towed by larger freshwater or saltwater vessels such as houseboats or motor yachts. Pontoons are the "Kings of Comfort." With living-room-like couches, lounges, swivel seats, and spacious, flat platforms, they beg you to take it easy and enjoy. Lightweight and maneuverable, personal watercraft are the perfect option for boaters looking for an exciting escape and enjoyable time on the water.
SD470 inflatable boats are made of 1100 denier Korean PVC fabric with polyester support that has excellent resistance to tearing, tension and breaking.
Kids, give a donation of 30-40 ribbon wrapped coloring pages to children's hospitals, orphanages, church and day care centers.
Boatbuilders teach each other, and the skills have long been conveyed by oral transmission.

But if we only build boats out of oil, and keep a constant number of trees, there will be a nett increase in CO2. I became aware of this when a BBC magazine looked at the issue and decided that the heat consumed in ironing a cotton shirt meant that poly-cotton shirts were a better environmental deal; so it seems to me that we should consider all the inputs and outputs, not just the obvious ones. Gaseous hydrocarbons are often very powerful greenhouse gases, and if a boat needs eight coats of varnish every two years, what's the impact of that? I wish someone would give me some nice, clear well worked answers that left me knowing where I was on all this, and that I could quote when the issue arises.
I can guarantee that the energy expended per year ironing my cotton shirts is less than it takes to make a years worth of polyester shirts…. And it seems to me that I've never even owned an iron that got hot enough to iron a cotton shirt properly!
We should use wood because we want to, and save our agonizing about our carbon footprints for the times when it really counts.
I am not about to give up my roast lamb, but cutting my meat intake in half would do me good, and probably make a more significant dent in my carbon footprint than all the other little fiddles one reads about put together.
The difference in the reaction of people when I am paddling some rental day-glo plastic fantastic canoe, and when they see me in my little varnished oak and pine S-O-F canoe is remarkable. I seem to remember writing about the issue years ago, and finding that the energy savings from triple glazing can take a century to pay back the investment.
What's needed is some sort of mechanism where the cost of dealing with CO2 problems are paid for by the sources of CO2, then triple glazing and the like would look a lot more attractive finacially. If person A manufactures a triple glazed panel using oil based energy sources the cost of energy is very low but the CO2 generated is very high. The cost of the triple glazed panel goes up slightly because of the embodied energy, but the cost of the energy being saved over, say, 20 years is a very worthwhile saving. Theres a tigermoth biplane at our local airport that is probably 60-70 years old with wooden wing spars that DO flex. Try scrolling down, clicking on the 'older posts' button at the bottom of this page - or try the search gadget! The open bow area makes bowriders very popular because it allows people to catch a breeze while enjoying sun and spray up front.
As the name suggests, these cruisers are driven from the stern (rear) of the cruiser and are powered by inboard engines.
Two engines, usually fueled with diesel and a generator for electricity, make them self-sufficient in terms of living accommodations. Cuddies are nimble and maneuverable like a bowrider, but a closed deck over the bow area creates a cozy sleeping area with limited plumbing for toilet, sink and, sometimes, cooking. Deck boats offer huge seating areas and can often carry as many passengers as pontoon boats. Smaller freshwater boats, such as aluminum, jon boats and bass boats, range anywhere between 8 and 20 feet, carry from two to five passengers, and can be equipped with an outboard and trolling motor.
These vessels are well suited for recreational watersports and can take "looking for the perfect catch" to the next level by including livewells, bait bays, and ample storage room for fishing accessories and fittings, such as rod holders or outriggers. Primarily used in freshwater, these lightweight, easy-to-maneuver vessels are usually equipped with bench seating and an outboard engine. Built to accommodate two or three anglers on swivel chairs, bass boats range between 16 and 18 feet (longer for tournament-style boats), are usually constructed of aluminum or fiberglass, and contain recirculating water livewells to store live catch. This allows the boat to go out on the water for longer periods of time and at much farther distances. Whether coastal fishing the shallows on a flat boat, taking a walkaround out for a family fishing day in the bay or chasing big-water trophies on a sportfishing yacht, there’s the perfect boat for you and your passion. But for those who want to go out farther, stay longer and catch bigger, center console and sportfishing yachts are great ways to saltwater fish.
The passenger capacity varies with size, but whether you’re angling for bluefin, mahi-mahi or just a good time, these boats allow you to do some serious fishing and serious relaxing all in the same place.
In addition to providing shade and rod storage, the T-top center makes room for up to seven anglers around the perimeter of the vessel. Because they can be equipped with eating, sleeping and plumbing facilities, sportfishing yachts have the ability to stay out on the water for days at a time. The two categories of inflatable boats—roll-up or rigid-hull inflatable boats (RIBs)—are suitable for saltwater and freshwater fishing, watersports, and more. They are very useful when venturing into smaller waters and ports where larger vessels are cumbersome and difficult to maneuver. Performance boats are the cheetahs of the water, offering breakneck speeds and on-the-dime handling to boaters who prefer their thrills full throttle. PWCs offer state-of-the-art features that allow you to safely and comfortably explore the waterways. The term “sailboat” covers a wide variety of craft vessels propelled partly or entirely by the breeze.
It is a much more heavy-duty PVC fabric than most of our competitors with 1000 denier PVC boats.
With our busy working and family lives I have no hesitation in saying that we own and use at least one boat that we wouldn’t be able to keep up it on a DIY basis if it was made from wood. For example, when wood eventually rots its breakdown must release carbon dioxide and the much worse global warming gas methane.
If the returns are so small, I'd suggest there are likely to be other areas we could cut down on that would make more of a difference. If person B manufactures the same panel using energy from photovoltaics the cost of energy is very high, but the CO2 released is very low.

Check out our extensive list of watercraft, from PWCs to multilevel motor yachts and every vessel in between.
Ranging anywhere between 26 and 40 feet, cabin cruisers of all sizes can be seen up and down inland waterways and are perfect for those who want to feel the sun on their faces up above or the motion of the ocean down below.
Motor yachts feature more open area, a fly bridge (on some), large windows, a stateroom, and other luxurious living accommodations spread out over two or three decks.
They are most often powered with sterndrive engines, but outboard power is becoming popular, too.
Perfect for shallow water and other areas larger boats can’t reach, the aluminum fishing boat has become one of the most popular options on the water due to its durability and affordability. Both the outside of the vessel and the internal motor mechanics are constructed of materials to help prevent corrosion caused by saltwater. Ideal for shallow water with room for only two or three anglers, flat fishing boats offer large casting decks, storage, rod holders, livewells and very little else.
Houseboats are available in several different styles and sizes and can be built to suit your tastes and needs.
An inboard ski boat’s hull shape, configuration and placement of the engine, propeller and drive shaft cause these boats to throw a very slight wake, making it easy for the skier to cross. Big-time muscle coupled with gorgeous lines allow these boats to be comfortable almost anywhere.
However, it’s the mode of propulsion that differentiates these boats and gives them their name. Whether you’re riding solo or taking your family on an adventure, PWC owners can enjoy a variety of activities, ranging from touring rides to watersports activities such as tubing, waterskiing, and fishing. In general, sailboats are distinguished by size, hull configuration, keel type, number of sails, use and purpose. Trawlers’ efficient hulls mean less fuel consumption, and their sleeping, cooking and plumbing facilities mean more comfort for your guests. So what is the lifetime cost of a wooden boat to the environment compared with a plastic one?
With regard to the maintenance I was referring to epoxy encapsulated wood like the Ninigret I'm building. The recession might have lowered energy costs, but I can see us coming out of it with soaring energy costs. Bowriders are perfect for lakes and inland water, with ample power for most watersport activities. Features such as a sunpad, swim platform and tow-line hook make them ideal for skiing, tubing and wakeboarding. They are powerful, too, making them excellent boats for skiing, tubing and wakeboarding, or simply ideal for stirring a breeze on a long cruise.
Often spacious and equipped with such amenities as restrooms, sleeping, dining and entertaining areas, houseboats are ideal for spending time with family and friends while you cruise lakes, rivers and even coastal waters for a day, a night or a long weekend. Inboard wake boats' V-drive engines and deep, wide hulls cause them to carve a steep, large wake that riders love to launch off of. Cranking offshore or simply relaxing in a cove, performance boats deliver lots of smiles per hour. Jet boats use water-jet drives to propel the vessel rather than the traditional propeller system used on most other vessels. Multi-hull power boats sit on two pontoon-like hulls that offer a smooth experience, whether you’re cruising the surface or floating at rest.
Pontoons don’t have a traditional hull; their deck rests upon two or three floats rather than the water’s surface, a unique design that makes them incredibly stable. Visit Discover Boating’s Boat Selector, an interactive boat tool that allows you to compare boat types by activity, size and propulsion. The skip tower has full canvas with backdrop that provides seating for four persons completely out of the weather. Maybe plastic boat owners are more inclined to motor than sail, and maybe plastic boat owners are more attracted to resource hogging marinas?
Sure, we need a reasonably big car to haul the family around, but could we get away with an overgrown go-cart for the commute to work? The drives are almost completely enclosed inside the hull, reducing the risk of damage from impact with obstacles or the bottom. The spacious center and stern (back) of the boat can carry up to eight passengers and can accommodate those who want to do some serious fishing, serious sport or serious relaxation time. They are usually outfitted with smaller engines, but can be equipped with higher-horsepower engines for skiing and tubing.
Powered with a 90-115HP outboard, this boat provides plenty of performance and still maintains great fuel economy. Just to add a factor that seems relevant, what is the contribution to global warming made by the drying of spirit-based paints and varnish? Multi-hull cruisers sport dual V-bottom hulls, a wide-open cabin and a stable (and fuel-friendly) ride for your day out in the sun. Pontoons offer everything from relaxation to power in one simple, yet oddly shaped, package. This boat is loaded with factory options and can be outfitted with any electronics and fishing accessories desired.

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