How are home-made boats tested/licensed ?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by quicksilver147, Mar 5, 2011.

  1. quicksilver147
    Joined: Mar 2011
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    Location: Minnesota

    quicksilver147 Junior Member

    I'm new to "Boat Design". I signed up looking for help with my project.

    I'm designing my own aluminum fishing boat using SolidWorks, but before I start construction I need to make sure I will be able to use it when i'm done.
    Do I have to have the Coast Guard certify my design ? If so, the expence of having a PE approve my design will defeat the whole purpose of my design.

    I'm from Minnesota (if that matters).

    The design I'm looking at is similar to the 16' Lund "Fury" fishing boat.

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  2. Jeremy Harris
    Joined: Jun 2009
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    Jeremy Harris Senior Member

    I don't know about regulations in other countries, but here any boat over a certain size has to be approved and tested against the Recreational Craft Directive. This has nothing to do with the coast guard organisation, but does mean that home built craft that haven't been through approval can't be sold on for a few years after construction.

    My guess is that it's a question that depends heavily on where in the world you happen to be.

  3. frank smith
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    Location: usa

    frank smith Senior Member

    I would contact the coast guard . I know that under 21' you have to have flotation enough to keep occupants clear of the water from waste up . They may ask you to prove it by filling the boat with water. I would do this anyway for my own piece of mind.
  4. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    You can just go and register the boat. No one will inspect your boat before you do. The regulations they are likely to inspect randomly are fuel, lights and safety equipment.
  5. Squidly-Diddly
    Joined: Sep 2007
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    Location: SF bay

    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

    I'm a Solidworks user, too.

    I'd love to see your 'builds' and how you used SW for the more boaty aspects of the design, and how much you created exactly what you will end up with in SW, and how much you sketched in SW with an understanding that certain things will be built different in the real world.

    As far as passing inspections, I can only offer this wisdom from passing landlubber building inspections:

    Find out who is going to do the inspections and ask them what they require.

    Sounds obvious and simple, but I've seen lots of very smart and capable builders and craftmen get themselves in all sorts of trouble, and mostly with the best and most honest intentions, thinking they can figure out what is required, building it, THEN submitting it for inspection.

    Then some inspector has a different way of wanting some detail done, but that means work will need to be torn out and re-done, and the builder knows his work has been passed by bigger, tougher and smarter inspectors before, so the inspector is wrong, but that doesn't matter in this case. Sure, you can get an 'override' on some bush league city inspector, but it will cost dearly in time and money you can't get re-reimbursed for(although you do get some bragging rights).

    Then the client begins to doubt the builder, and everyone starts getting defensive and touchy, etc.

    Most inspection depts say they don't do "courtesy inspections" for the sole purpose of coming out and telling you "how to do your job", so what you do is schedule an inspection before you pass any critical points and not be ready for the inspection, and fail it. But at that inspection you go over with the inspector what he will need to see to pass.

    Also a good idea to bring plans down to building dept desk, even if the job doesn't require plan approval.
  6. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    In Minnesota you will be required to have a physical inspection as well as present your material receipts when your apply for your state registration number and title. This is the same as it is in most states and doesn't involve a PE or NA.

    This said, designing a high speed craft isn't something the novice CAD user should take for granted. You need a significant understanding of the engineering and dynamics involved or people can get hurt (or worse, which you will be ultimately responsible for).

    There are several features you should incorporate into the design just to meet USCG requirements and/or recommendation and a home built boat manual is available from them as a free download (Ike, do you have a link).

    Rather then design your own, I would strongly recommend you by a set of plans. Such as this 17' from Glen-L:
    The engineering and USCG requirements are worked out and you'll still have plenty to customize as the build progresses.
  7. quicksilver147
    Joined: Mar 2011
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    Location: Minnesota

    quicksilver147 Junior Member

    Who to contact ??

    Guys, thanks for all the suggestions so far, I'm learning alot.

    But....exactly who do I need to contact to get the ball rolling

    Do I stop down to my local Minnesota License Bureau, the Coats Guard, or the Minnesota Dept of Transportation ?

    Buy the way.....I didnt realize plans were available. I really like the ones the previous reply mentioned.
  8. Wayne Grabow
    Joined: Aug 2003
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    Location: Colorado

    Wayne Grabow Senior Member

    I'll be licensing my new boat here in Colorado soon. What that requires is a physical inspection by the State Parks rangers who handle boat licensing. As they explained it to me, their main concern is that it is not a stolen boat but an original build. They will then issue a HIN as well as the license numbers. A bigger concern to me is the possible liability when I want to sell the boat. Both the design and construction are all my responsibility. Minnesota is probably similar.
  9. jetboat77
    Joined: Feb 2011
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    Location: RED DEER ,ALBERTA

    jetboat77 Junior Member

    The main problem with designing a 16 ft v bottom(I am assuming you are not incorporating tunnels or stepped areas) is to come up with something that is not a clone of a readily available production boat but is reasonably buildable ie it is easier to design compound curves than it is to make a plate of aluminum follow them.

    As mentioned previously 16 ft boats fall under the NMMA small craft standards for flotation,stability and handling.

    Most of the attention you will recieve from government authorities will be to make sure you have paid tax and the craft is not stolen.

    The coast guard (at least in Canada but I suspect the US would be similar) will not be very interested in an owner built 16 ft boat .....they would likley wish you well and tell you to wear a life jacket if you called them.

    If you have not done this before the idea of plans from Glen L or one of the other small craft/homebuilder designers would be a good idea.

    Years ago many enthusiasts built their own boats so there is no reason why you cannot do it today.
  10. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    I would if I were you, after all its them what will test the boat if it needs it and not the guys on this forum.

  11. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

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