How to design an aluminum 16ft flat bottom Jon boat, beginner boat building.

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Adam Whitfield, Aug 2, 2020.

  1. Adam Whitfield
    Joined: Jul 2020
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 0, Points: 1
    Location: Florida

    Adam Whitfield New Member

    Hello all, my name is Adam Whitfield. I am 22 years old and a welder by trade. I am looking to build my first boat. I live in pensacola fl on the gulf coast, I do a lot of saltwater fishing inshore. I'm looking to build a simple 16ft flat bottom aluminum jon boat for a little floundering and inshore fishing on calm nights. I have a design thought up in my mind, but I have no clue where to start as far as getting all the measurements and curves. I'm looking for some help getting started and pointed in the right direction as far as designing and getting my parts laid out. Should I get a design software like fusion 360? Any help and pointers will be greatly appreciated!
  2. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 3,650
    Likes: 1,594, Points: 113, Legacy Rep: 37
    Location: Barbados

    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Welcome to the Forum Adam.

    Re designing your jon boat, it might be easier to simply buy a set of plans for a design that is proven.
    One example here -
    15 1/2' Scrambler - outboard whitewater sled-boatdesign

    Or you could build something like a garvey, which would be better able to cope with choppy conditions than a jon boat - I'm sure that you might find yourself in rougher water occasionally in Pensacola bay?
    15'-9" Jimbo AL - garvey hull with center console-boatdesign

    These are mostly plywood designs, but maybe some design ideas here re what you want?
    Fishing Boat Plans – Boat Builder Central

    Here is a very simple jon boat type in plywood, but it could be adapted fairly easily for aluminium construction -

    If you are absolutely determined to design it yourself, sketch out your ideas on paper initially - you don't need a fancy CAD program for this - take a photo (or scan your sketch), and post it on here, and you will receive good constructive advice about it.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2020
  3. Adam Whitfield
    Joined: Jul 2020
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 0, Points: 1
    Location: Florida

    Adam Whitfield New Member

    Thank you so much for the info!
  4. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 3,650
    Likes: 1,594, Points: 113, Legacy Rep: 37
    Location: Barbados

    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    BlueBell likes this.
  5. BlueBell
    Joined: May 2017
    Posts: 2,733
    Likes: 990, Points: 113
    Location: Victoria BC Canada

    BlueBell . . . _ _ _ . . . _ _ _

    There is a lot to be said to building to someone else's design.
    It has to be a good, proven design though.
    Especially with Al.
    Don't get sucked into designing your first build...
    well, if there is no other way, go ahead.
    But I warned you.

    And welcome to the Forum.
    bajansailor likes this.
  6. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
    Posts: 10,386
    Likes: 1,046, Points: 113, Legacy Rep: 702
    Location: Australia

    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    The trouble with alloy for such a build, is that unswaged material necessitates a heavier boat. Ideally, relatively thin sheet, with pressings to give stiffness, and also some longitudinal grip on the water, is the way to go. The cottage-industry plate build is really not that good an idea at or under 5 metres boat length, you have to use thicker material, and more internal longitudinals, that add up to weight, to avoid "dishing" the bottom.
    bajansailor likes this.
  7. upchurchmr
    Joined: Feb 2011
    Posts: 3,287
    Likes: 259, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 579
    Location: Ft. Worth, Tx, USA

    upchurchmr Senior Member

    Build the first one to someone else's design.
    That is the best suggestion you are going to get from everyone here.
    You need some experience before you design something.

    Your own design will need to be "fixed" at least 3 times, unless you are super talented (not likely for most of us).
    And yes, this is from personal experience, and I've been an aerospace designer for 35 years. Just not a boat designer. :rolleyes:

    What every you do, have fun, and report back.
    bajansailor likes this.
  8. Cajunpockettunnel
    Joined: Aug 2020
    Posts: 224
    Likes: 136, Points: 43
    Location: Franklin, LA

    Cajunpockettunnel Senior Member

  9. JSL
    Joined: Nov 2012
    Posts: 811
    Likes: 64, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 41
    Location: Delta BC

    JSL Senior Member

    Adam, you might also want to check out any regulations/standards you have to comply with (USCG, ABYC, etc.) as well as insurance.
  10. Barry
    Joined: Mar 2002
    Posts: 1,867
    Likes: 515, Points: 113, Legacy Rep: 158

    Barry Senior Member

    $500 for a cnc file to get the parts cut. With a proven design. Though longer than what you wanted, you might be able to contact metal boat kits, and they may easily be able to provide a shorter version.
    6m (19ft) Aluminum Lifeboat MILITARY VERSION- *NEW* - Metal Boat Kits
    I believe that they also supply a Hull Identification Number to make registration and insurance easier. This might include the approved sticker for weight and horsepower. You may want to check in your jurisdiction what the requirements
    are for registering a "home built" boat before you build

    In some areas, for a home built, prior to registering the boat, you might have to have the
    boat surveyed. The $500 for the files may save the cost of this process
    bajansailor likes this.
  11. James Alex
    Joined: Mar 2024
    Posts: 1
    Likes: 0, Points: 1
    Location: Pakistan

    James Alex New Member

    "Just watched an awesome tutorial on RedboxTV about designing an aluminum 16ft flat bottom Jon boat for beginner boat building. The step-by-step instructions were clear and easy to follow, making it perfect for anyone new to boat construction. Can't wait to try building my own boat and hitting the water! Thanks for the great content, RedboxTV!"

  12. messabout
    Joined: Jan 2006
    Posts: 3,381
    Likes: 527, Points: 113, Legacy Rep: 1279
    Location: Lakeland Fl USA

    messabout Senior Member

    Adam; do you plan to attach an outboard to the boat? How fast do you want the boat to able to go? There is an important difference between a planing design and a displacement type. Conventional Jon Boats are planing types. They take more of a beating than displacement types. Your design, if we are to assume that it is to be capable of planing, will need suitable structural reinforcement as Mr E has mentioned.
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.