Aluminum Kayaks

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by GAVIOTA, Jun 5, 2008.

  1. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Ike Senior Member

    Below is your quote. The jist of it is any person who makes and sells recreational boats in the US must obtain a manufacturer ID code from the USCG, and assign Hull Identification Numbers to the boats. If the maker of the boat doesn't do this then they are no in compliance and could be fined.

    For a canoe or kayak the only Federal requirement is the Hull ID Number.
    a couple of links.
    USCG Boatbuilders Handbook

    My Page on HINs and MICs

    The prohibition is in the US Code. The regualtion conatins the requirement.

    Title 33 Code of Federal Regulations

  2. Grizz
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    Grizz Junior Member

    yup, applies to interstate commerce and importers.... that excludes locals building custom boats sold in the same state...

    thanks for posting the regs. I was thinking this was the case. This does not preclude states having their own regs, but I think I've seen "home made" on boat titles...

    also note that it applies to manufacturers who are wholesalers, building for resale. it's the interstate commerce that gives the Feds leverage...

    BTW, I applaud the ambition and focus of the original poster who wants to build aluminum kayaks. It has lots of potential benefits. The most common skiff type in the area of southeast Alaska I'm familiar with is the Lund, a riveted aluminum boat that's used in every imaginable circumstance, is one of the most seaworthy small boats in the world, and has incredibly long commercial use, surviving work that absolutly dismantles wood or glass boats. This view is informed by my half a lifetime living in coastal southeast, and more than a quarter century as a self employed commercial fisherman with more days at sea than most combined coast guard cutter crews.... been there, done that....


  3. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

    Actually No it does include locals. I didn't post the whole reg. Go to the links. There have been very few exceptions, the only one I can remember in 25 years in the Boating Safety Biz was a guy building rowboats for a local resort on a tiny lake. They would be solely used on that lake, never be sold and never rented.

    The general rule is if you offer it for sale, it is in interstate commerce because anyone can buy it.

    Home builts are a separate issue. If you build a boat solely for your own use with no intent to sell it, you can get an HIN from the state authority that registers boats.

    There is a preemption that precludes states from creating regulations that apply to the construction of the boat, for instance kill switches. There was a big court case with Alabama over that one. However there are exceptions, For instance many states have a law that says you cannot exceed the values on the capacity label. They cannot regulate what the capacities are but they can regulate over loading or over powering. So it gets complicated. I could write a book, but then no one would buy it. LOL
  4. Grizz
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    Grizz Junior Member

    well, I still like the kayak idea and good sailing to the man who can make that idea a reality....

    thanks for the update on the bureaucratic nightmare, it's even worse than my fevered imagination could conjure...

  5. Ike
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    Ike Senior Member

    Actually it's not as complex as it sounds, because that's the only thing he needs to do, get a manufacturer id code. It's free, you fill out a one page form, sign it and send it to the Coast Guard and a couple days later you have your code. Then you can put HINs on the boats and you're in biz. The rest is up to the state, whether you need a busines name and lic and all that stuff.
    All he needs to do is make a phone call 202-372-1073 or FAX 202-372-1934. Couldn't be much easier. Probably the only govt service that is still free.

    I wish him well. I am building some boats too so I hope he has success. Aluminum is almost indestructible so they ought to last almost forever.
  6. Jim Day
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    Jim Day New Member

    So I try to live up to my word....

    Just started my Kayak.



  7. kmorin
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    Location: Alaska

    kmorin Senior Member

    Jim, nice looking tack up,

    If you have time to give a few more details, I'd sure appreciate knowing.

    What are you planning to do about seams welds?
    Is that 0.080" or 0.100" thick?
    Is the bottom tacked inside and is the bottom cut all the way through (2 separate panels) or is the bottom scored with orange-peel ends?

    Sure looks nice, I'm very interested in how you go about welding her out.

    Kevin Morin
  8. masalai
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: cruising, Australia

    masalai masalai

    Good start, further posts I will watch with admiration and interest, Thanks for the effort in posting...
  9. bird-n-buck
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    bird-n-buck New Member

    Jim I am getting ready to start an aluminum kayak myself and the pictures of what you had started on yours was what I had in mind, if you have time please post some more pictures of your project.
  10. jonr
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    jonr Senior Member

    I've been told (and would like to see discussed), the following about aluminum.

    Hydroforming can produce smooth compound curves with the least distortion (thinning/stretching).

    Welding significantly weakens aluminum

    White paint eliminates the hot boat problem (because aluminum has low emissivity)

    Anodizing increases wear and corrosion resistance
    1 person likes this.
  11. alexlebrit
    Joined: Aug 2006
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    Location: France - Bourbriac

    alexlebrit Senior Member

    Not seen this thread in ages, and since i last looked I stumbled across this canoe, which might give someone some inspiration.


    It follows the same construction methods as this tortured ply canoe.

    The builder says they've used the same basic methods for yak building and in fact that was easier than canoes.
  12. dskira

    dskira Previous Member

    You have a good point.
    If he fails it is because the product is bad. Period.
    You right Coast Guard are not to be involve. Here in Maine they help you to understand how to kayack with a monitor, but it is not mendatory.
    As for my taste, they looks ugly, but that just my esthetic judgement.
    If he put some buoyancy tanks in, they are safe.
    Aluminum kayak exist for a very long time, they are good and you keep them a life time. They are like tanks!

  13. ancient kayaker
    Joined: Aug 2006
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    Location: Alliston, Ontario, Canada

    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    An interesting, if ancient thread.

    From a comfort point of view, I personally would avoid an Aluminum canoe/kayak because I tend to start paddling as soon as the ice clears and continue until it comes back, often pushing through the stuff to get one more day in the water. I was loaned an aluminum handled paddle once or twice, it’s not an experience I want to repeat. Imagine carrying a metal boat with water dripping all over your hands on a Winter day.

    From a structural point of view, building a boat from aluminum sounds difficult unless you are tooled up for serious production and have a good understanding of the material and technology. It is much denser than wood/carbon/glassfiber/PE but less stiff than composites, and not as stiff as plywood of the same weight per unit area which would be about x6 as thick, so as rwatson noted in post #41 the designer is forced to use compound curves for stiffness or have a heavy boat. Developable strakes and hard chine design would reduce the need for heavy machinery but needs excellent welding skills and is time consuming.

    The only real advantage of Aluminum is it needs no paint for protection. As for its indestructability, I have seen Al boats abandoned on the shore with holes in them. Speaking for myself, I prefer a lightweight boat to a bomb-proof tank. You don’t have to beach it - just carry it. To match the weight of a boat built in 3 mm plywood, which will last for years with reasonable care and a fresh coat of paint or varnish once in a while, you would have to use 0.5 mm Aluminum - how durable would that be?

    You always have to lift a small boat sooner or later unless you leave it in the water, with a lightweight you just carry it under one arm and park it with a rock on top to stop it blowing away :)

    I know it's almost 2 years ago, but Gaviota asked for opinions on the designs and the site is still there (or has returned) so here's mine. The boats appear to be almost flat bottomed or Vee-bottomed, with vertical sheers although one has a little flare at the stem, and the sheer planks have hard corners, not even a smooth curve. They will create a lot of turbulence as they move through the water. Assuming these are real boats, has anyone actually tried to paddle them?

    I ask because my first 2 efforts at building boats had Vee- and flat bottoms, and I know the disadvantages of this all too well.

    Those boats look to be too wide to paddle easily, with the vertical sheers they will become tippy once the primary stability is overcome with little secondary stability. They are quite short but an average paddler might have difficulty reaching hull speed with such a shape, although most canoes and kayaks routinely and effortlessly exceed theoretical hull speed.

    Still, Aluminum is recyclable, which is a virtue.
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