Row Me by Patrick Kinney

6 September 2007

I finally finished my Row Me. It took me three months of tinkering in the morning before work. I built it from ¼” and 3/8” BC pine. It is a bit heavy but very solid. I added an extra front seat. I put 7.5 ounce cloth on the outside bottom and 4 ounce on the sides. On the inside I put 4 ounce on the floor and seat tops. I painted the boat with 2 coats of primer and 5 coats of exterior acrylic latex enamel with a roller. After it dried for a week I slapped on a couple coats of car wax. Yes it is yellow but to each their own. The boat cost me roughly $350, $312 for the trailer and $1200 for a new Nissan 6hp four-stroke. My anchor is in a rubber bucket; my bilge pump is a cut up milk jug. If you are looking for a good boat to fish and hunt in this is it. It is NOT a speed boat! What it will do is get you from point A to B safely. It costs less than $9 dollars to fill the tank and will run well over six hours straight. It will hold two fat guys comfortably, with a good amount of free board for choppy water. It will take you into the backwaters where bigger boats can’t go, AND it will row you home if your motor quits. It will handle the shallows of the grass flats like a pro. It is a good utility/fishing boat that you won’t have to mortgage your home to build, own, or to have fun with the kids. I affectionately call her my Hoopty. She is a fine seaworthy boat.

Update 31 March 2008

I have used my Row Me now for months and I would like to add a few updates:

First I have a few design changes I would make if I were to build her again. I have not done these as I don’t consider them not to be major issues. First, I would build a bench seat between the aft and middle seats. It would make it easier to use the motor as the back seat really is not usable for a fat guy to sit and operate the engine. I sit on my cooler in the space between the aft and mid seats and it works fine. Also some kind of spray rail would be nice if you are taking it out in two foot chop.

I have used this boat for hunting with the following results: With two people in the boat (one weighs 225 and the other 285) a hundred pounds of food and equipment and we managed 5 to 51/2 mph going upstream in a local river (dodging floating trees). Now add a 140 pound deer and we made 7 mph going down stream. With that much weight in the boat the boat seemed to draw less than six inches in the water. We have made this same trip many times and it is easy to scoot the boat up a little canal and tie her off to a tree.

I took her on a hunt to one of the outside islands by myself one morning. The water became extremely shallow (less than 8 inches) about 150 yards from shore. I broke out the oars and quietly rowed into the beach and never hit bottom once.

I took her out this weekend into the bay. Conditions ranged from smooth to a two foot chop. We trolled spoons along the back of the barrier islands at 3 to 4 mph. Within two hours we had landed ten fish. I ran the boat at ½ throttle for 4 hours that day and burned almost 1/8th of a tank of fuel (3 gal tank). The front seat I added came in handy for my passenger to use and work the fishing poles.

This boat is well within the amateur's building ability. Basically trace the pattern out on plywood and cut it out. Believe me, if I can build a boat, anyone can.