Diesel Duck 382

Diesel Duck 382
Diesel Duck 382 with the "get home" steadying sails up.

The Money

You're not supposed to talk about money in public!  I can hear my parents words ringing in my head.  My own alarm bells are ringing as I consider all the financial pit falls of the computer age.

Well I'm already foolish enough to attempt building 41' ocean trawler in my backyard, so why not go for broke and take all the risks!  So let's cut to the chase and I'll show you what I've spent so far on this build.  I'll give you my take later in this post, but if you just want to see what I've got into it, here you go!  I'll update the totals as the project progresses so check back periodically.

-  Design and set up:  $1876

      Plans $1800
      Rosin paper $12 (lofting)
      Luan: $11 (patterns)
      OSB (lofting table) $53

-  Lumber: $4910

      Plywood $1124
      Yellow pine (cradle) $220
      Larch $826
      White Oak $1930
      Dimensional Lumber $810

-  Fasteners: $2233

      Drifts $340
      Screws $367
      Bolts $467
      Rod (keel bolts) $185
      Drill bits $324
      Galvanized fasteners (donated) $550

-  Adhesives, Paint, Tools and clamps:  $2474

      Epoxy/rollers/accessories  $1745
      Rescorsinol (8 gallons) $1010
      Titebond III (5 gallons) $85
      Plastic resin (1 gallon) $14
      Clamps $408
      Flat bar (hydraulic clamps) $72
      Paint/Primer $360
      Bedding compound $88
      Cotton caulking $13
      Wood Preservative $44
      Project specific tools $363

-  Systems:  $4820
      Propeller shaft $400
      Port Lights $1650
      Stuffing Box $320
      Cutlass housing $890
      Shaft bearing $350
      Through hulls/deck fittings $225
      Windlass $250
      Sheaves $450
      Wheel $75
      Shore power adapters $60
      Steering pedestal $150

-  Odds and ends: $1150
       The little stuff that isn't tracked quite as well, a washer here a piece of wood there, not to mention saw blades, sand paper and the like.

Total:  $17,463 as of 4/28/20

As a builder, I'm constantly searching the net for blogs and stories about home and amateur boat builders.  I've found quite a few, and many are very detailed.  Except for the money part. I constantly find myself seeing one part or another of their build and saying, "yea, how much?"  That question is rarely answered.

To my eye, that is one of the most important things.  You can have the tools, you can have the space, you can have the time but if you ain't got the cash, what's the point?  On the opposite side of that coin is that you can't use the fact that you don't have a hundred grand lying around to stop you from taking a step toward building your dream.  At some point you have to get off the couch and try!

I hear from readers fairly often and many have said something to the effect, "you are living my dream" or " you are doing what I've always wanted to do".  That sentiment is so appreciated, but it's also a little sad.  I hate the thought of someone having a dream and not believing they can make it happen.

I'll often hear that people don't know how to build a boat (neither do I) or they don't have the skills (says who?).  However the number one reason people put off their dream boat is the money.

No doubt that building a boat is an expensive undertaking.  Buying a commercially produced boat is even more! To be honest, buying new or even a used boat of this size is out of reach of the average person.

Even if you could find a used one you could afford, you have to consider the cost's of repairing all the reasons you could afford it in the first place!  Really,the only option for an average person ,is to build your own.

One of the major reasons I chose to build this boat was the way George Buehler (designer of the Ducks) described building a cruising boat pay check to pay check.  I'm sure you could do that with any design but this was coming from a guy who actually did it.  Real world experience means something to me.  When you factor in that the Ducks have a relatively simple design, within reach of the average to beginner handy person to understand and complete, two of the major reasons not to build are eliminated!

However, I'm well aware that this is a substantial investment.  If you are considering building a boat you have to accept that changes in your lifestyle will probably need to occur.  If you're a rich guy who just likes building things, good for you! Live your life and build your boat.  The rest of us will need to prioritize our expenses and set aside funds every paycheck to go towards our boat.  What can you live without? What will your family accept that you can live without?  Can you get a second job or work overtime and your current job?  Those are critical considerations.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, your significant other and household family members need be behind this project 100% or your in for a lot of tension.

The best scenario would be to actually save up a little nest egg before you started.  You could buy enough to keep you busy for a long time if you had 7 to 10 thousand in the bank before you start.
However, $2500 would get the ball rolling and then let the pay check to pay check schedule take over.

I don't know what it's like for everyone, but $2500 is a significant amount of money to me.  You have to keep in mind that the building plans are not free!  If you go with George and one of his stock plans you're going to spend anywhere from $400 to $2000 for a boat capable of blue water cruising.  After that expense you can think about materials to get you started.

In reality, getting the boat in frame (keel, frames, chine, stringers) is relatively cheap (in the grand scheme).  Depending on where you buy your lumber and how big your boat is, figure 3 or 4 thousand dollars.  That amount will include lumber, fasteners and adhesive.  For a person like me working weekends and occasionally after work, that's probably 2 years worth of work at least.  Dollar cost average that over 24 months and you're looking at around $175 a month.  Get rid of the premium channels on your TV provider, cut your land line, and skip a couple dinners out each month and you're there with room to spare.

However it would be short sighted to stop there.  You need to think long term on a project of this magnitude.  What are the big cost's down the line?  Engine, Tanks, systems, systems, systems are all very expensive.  You need to find a way to keep putting additional funds aside and keep building that nest egg.  Of course you are going to occasionally use a credit card for big ticket items, but I would encourage you to avoid putting yourself in debt for this type of project.  What fun would it be to have your boat built but be in debt for thousands of dollars?

Don't be discouraged by all the numbers being thrown around here.  I agree that it's a lot of money.  However it's not crazy money, this is within your reach.  With a few lifestyle changes or a little more income, you can begin building your dream.

I don't pretend to know everything, and believe me I'm making plenty of mistakes that I have to correct.  Those mistakes cost time and money but I'm out there doing it.  I remind myself of that fact frequently, I'm doing it.  Not planning it, not thinking about it, Not worrying about why I can't do it, I'm out there trying.  You can too, but you have start with the first step.  Take that step today, we'll go together.


  1. great and very helpful site. Carry on dreamer

  2. Hey you dreamers,
    Mr. Six Point (can't find his name) is absolutely right. I dreamed for 12 years. Then in 1982 I took my savings and bought a $400 set of plans and $4000 worth of steel and started a sail boat. 4 years later it got launched and 20 years after that we sailed to Mexico from BC. Ten years after that we stopped cruising, sold the boat in Florida and bought a house. Our cruising club has 3 categories; dreamers, doers and done-rs. Having been all 3 my advice is "Just do it." As Doug of sv Seeker says, What have you built today?'

  3. Save all reciepts that show any taxes paid on materials, don’t include brushes, tarps, rollers or anything that is not Boat, in my state registration taxes are paid on what the boat cost to build. Hopefullt this boat will be Documented, (the whole crew will get FREE mariners insurance)

  4. Well stated sir !!!
    Marco Fregoso

  5. Love the project! Look forward to folling the project through completion!

  6. Can you also list the price for the boat shed, planar, joiner, table saw, clamps, that kind of thing. I don’t have much of any of that so I’d have to buy that first to get where you are.

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  8. Hi Scott, I have missed not seeing you on you-tube I hope everything is ok and your Family are fine. I love following your story it one of the best Boat building projects on you-tube, keep up the good work. Best regards from the UK.

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  11. No update in over a year and a half?
    Please update, and remember to keep those receipts for tax purposes.

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