How to Build a Layout Boat For many waterfowl hunters, the concept of hunting from a boat blind is very common practice. Boat blinds offer waterfowl hunters the ability to conveniently travel from location to location, keeping all of their gear stowed away until it is ready for use. The most notable and most beneficial trait of hunting from a boat blind is the ability to hunt a wide range of situations and conditions. From large lakes and rivers to small ponds and big creeks, layout boats allow the duck or goose hunter the ability to get up close and personal. Here is step by step instructions for how to build a layout boat for waterfowl hunting. While large boat blinds are very advantageous for hunting larger bodies of water, such as lakes and rivers they are not without limitations. Sometimes their large frames and heavy construction do not provide the waterfowl hunter the ability to get where they need to go. Even with a hull designed to handle super shallow conditions, sometimes these boats are simply unable to get the job done. That’s where the layout boat comes in! Layout boats have been very popular among waterfowl hunters for many years, and have allowed duck and goose hunters the ability to take a couple dozen decoys into areas that would be hard to access otherwise, and allow those hunters to remain concealed in very little cover. There is no doubt that the layout boat is an incredible addition to any waterfowl hunter’s arsenal and can offer the duck or goose hunter the ability to literally go and hide anywhere. The concept of the layout boat is rather simple. To put it very simply, a layout boat is a layout blind that can float. The layout boat is a very small (most averaging 13 feet in length) boat that can comfortably fit up to two people and gear and can allow you to effectively access and hide in shallow water areas such as moist soil impoundments, scrub/shrub habitats, or mudflats and effectively hunt and harvest all manner of waterfowl. These small boats are relatively lightweight and can be easily handled by one person. In addition, these boats can be hauled on a small duty trailer or in the bed of a truck. These small boats can be easily stored and take up minimal spaces, which can be a very valued benefit if you are a waterfowl hunter with a lot of toys already! A Worthy Offseason Project for Waterfowl Hunters Many waterfowl hunters like the idea and concept of a challenge, and chances are that is why they find waterfowl hunting so exciting. It is the challenge of chasing ducks and geese and working to bring them into range. Along with that is being willing and able to go to the “hard to reach” areas where the ducks and geese want to be to ensure success. That is the ability that a layout boat can provide you. So, if you are a Hard Core waterfowl hunter that is looking for a worthy challenge that can one, help keep your mind on cupped wings during the doldrums of summer, while at the same time help you become a more versatile duck or goose hunter, then perhaps building your own layout boat is a worthy task. Building your own layout boat is a project that even the most inexperienced carpenter can complete. You don’t need to possess extensive experience in woodworking (although it can help), construction, or possess an expensive collection of tools and hardware to effectively and efficiently construct your own piece of duck hunting hardware. All you need is a little time, a little effort, some basic equipment and a set of plans on how to build a layout boat, and you are well on your way! How to Get Started To get started building your own layout boat, it really consists of determining what type of boat you prefer and then locating a good set of plans. The size and style of boat you build should really be dictated by the style of hunting you plan to use it for. If you are shallow water duck hunter that does not use a dog and primarily hunts alone, then you might prefer a smaller “Sneak Boat” style design. While if you tend to carry a lot of gear, a dog and sometimes a hunting partner or perhaps you want to put a small outboard engine on the boat then you might want to lean more towards the larger “Two Man” style designs. These are all considerations that you need to make prior to selecting your plans on how to build a layout blind. Once you have landed on the type of layout boat that you would like to build, then it all boils down to finding the right plans. There is a wide range of layout boat plans available online, many for a very minimal fee. Be sure to do your homework and research before selecting your plan as some plans provide more “How to build a layout boat” information than others. If you are new to layout boat building or woodworking in general, you will want to ensure that the plans provide you as with as much information as possible. Most plans will provide you not only the design specifications but also will list the exact materials and tools that you will need to complete the job as well as the timetable from start to completion. Once you have purchased your plans on how to build a layout boat, the next step is securing a location to build the boat. Layout boat construction is not an overnight activity with most construction lasting a week or two if you stay on top of it. Much of the time lag in construction is a result of needed drying time for materials such as the fiberglass epoxy that can be utilized in the construction. While most will choose to build the boat in an area such as their garage, it is important to understand that this will not be an overnight activity so keep that in mind before choosing your construction location. Be sure to select a site that is secure from the elements but that does have excellent ventilation. You will want to ensure that there is plenty of airflow during the fiberglassing phase of the construction. Tools for the Job Luckily, constructing a layout boat for waterfowl hunting does not require a significant investment in terms of tools and supplies. Most plans only require basic carpentry tools such as a belt sander, skill saw and/or table saw along with a ruler, carpenters square and a sharp pencil and you are in business. The number one tool that is truly required for building a layout boat is a little bit of elbow grease and some patience and you are set for success. While most plans do require some very specific cuts and designs such as the ribs for the hull, luckily it is simply a matter of following the templates provided in the plan. Specific materials will vary some depending upon the type of plans you purchase and the type of boat that you are planning to build, however, most materials will consist of plywood (~3/4” or less), wood screws, fiberglass and fiberglass tape, and your favorite camo paint! With the right plans on how to build a layout boat, a little time, patience, and effort you will be set to chase ducks and geese this fall, with total expenses typically coming in at or less than $500.00. Other Options for Building Layout Boats Building your own layout boat is a challenge that every waterfowl hunter should attempt at some point during their waterfowl career, however, it is understood that there are those out there who much prefer the convenience and design of a pre-manufactured layout boat. If you fall into this category, then, fortunately, there are plenty of excellent layout boat manufacturers available for you choose from. Duck and goose hunting from a layout boat is an amazing experience that enables a waterfowl hunter to hide in virtually zero cover and can provide some amazing up close and personal encounters that will have you reaching for more shells. It is a style of waterfowl hunting with a long history and lineage that is tied to the swamps of the far south and can make any waterfowl hunter fall in love with the sport all over again. Building your own layout boat is a very worthwhile project that requires very little upfront cost and experience and is a project even novice woodworker can do. Constructing your own layout boat is an excellent offseason project that can help you pass the time until opening day while at the same time giving you a leg up on the ducks and geese this fall. If you enjoy harvesting duck and geese and are looking for a way to improve your chances this fall, consider building your own layout boat. You won’t be sorry you did!