The Trip, The Plans.

M’kay, I just learned more stuff about building boats than I thought there was. There are two boats in the works right now. 1 scow and 1 kayak and there are a multitude of preparations. One is to get my AFA renewed. Pays to get current on the First Aid and CPR. The second is to take the white water guide course. Thats worth 75 bucks.

Right now I’m at the stage of building two models to a 2 inch equals 1 foot scale. The models will help to get the plan set into my mind. and simplify the work later on. When I make models I ballast them to scale too. The Kayak will be a stitch and glue, tape and glue operation also. It’s the only way I can get an affordable little boat that will work in my 6 foot 4 frame and also with my weight. 260 lbs. I settled on an 8 footer. This will not be a wimpy luan boat though, nor will it look like an amateurs work. I’m still working out the details on it. It has to strong enough, as well as light enough to fit the bill. That will be my recon boat. It’s not gonna be a “hot dogger”, It’s intended to be more than equal to the task at hand. So it will move out quick and maneuver well. But it got to be tough enuff to take on the upper Yough, not that I have that in the plans as yet.

Right now until the weather breaks, I’m doing the little inside things that I can. I’ll be building the boats in a portable shelter as I have no garage space available. So I’m selecting wood and cutting paddle blanks. All the little minutia. I’m keeping a sharp eye out for used outboards and trolling motors. My rule of thumb here is best value, first, last, and always. The out board only has to be like 2.5 horse. So I might mate a lawn mower engine to and outboard lower in the worst case Scenario.

It will be good to get back in the water with a kayak as I can get it into the water as soon as the glue cures on it. These little feeder streams around here were always in my shtf bug out plans. I’m looking at all the little safety things too.

REGS:  Persons shall wear a Coast Guard approved personal flotation device at all times when on board boats less than 16 feet in length or any canoe or kayak. I also recommend a brain bucket on white water too. Unless the sight of your brain matter on the rocks doesn’t bother you.

Between the hours of sunset and sunrise, boats less than 16 feet in length must carry VDS suitable for use at night.

All vessels must show required running lights between the hours of sunset and sunrise and during periods of restricted visibility, such as fog and heavy rain. A sailboat operating under power and sail must display the proper running lights for a powerboat. Navigation lights are restricted to the colors red, green and white. No lights of any type except for the required navigation lights may be displayed. Navigation lights are designed to identify the type of boat and its situation (underway, direction of travel, at anchor, etc.) on the water. Boats underway include drifting boats. Night boaters should carry spare bulbs, fuses, batteries and a flashlight.

The navigation lights required for boats are determined by the boat’s length and whether it is powered by machinery, sail, paddles or oars.

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission passed a new regulation at its September 27, 2011, meeting on life jacket wear during cold weather months.  This regulation takes effect November 1, 2012,and states that:

a person shall wear a Coast Guard approved personal flotation device (PFD or life jacket) during the cold weather months from November 1st through April 30th while underway or at anchor on boats less than 16 feet in length or any canoe or kayak .

Less than 16 feet (Class A) Includes johnboats, small runabouts and personal watercraft.


All motorboats and boats powered by electric motors must be registered. Owners of unpowered boats (canoes, kayaks, rowboats, etc.) can launch their boats at Commission lakes and access areas or Pennsylvania state parks if their boats display a boat registration, Commission launch use permit, or Pennsylvania State Parks launch permit or mooring permit. Pennsylvania State Parks recognizes Commission boat registrations and launch permits. The Commission does NOT recognize launch permits from other states. A Commission launch permit can be purchased on the PFBC website.

Boat registration fees are as follows: Powered decal Unpowered decal
$18 Unpowered boats
$26 Boats less than 16 feet

Documented vessels, as well as kayaks, sculls, sailboards and other low-volume boats of similar design, are exempt from the display of numbers, but they must display the validation decal. Inflatable boats may carry their numbers and validation decal on boards lashed to each side of the bow. Canoes are not exempt and must display the numbers and the decal.

So the TAX man gets his vigorish…. These regs go on and on and on….. They had a slogan for Pa “America starts here”…It should have been “Taxes Start Here”. As I understand it, The Scow has to be registered and show a number plate as well as the 2 year tag and the Kayak has to be registered and show only the 2 year tag. I’ll visit my state rep and get the skinny on this stuff. Don’t want to be paying more than my share. And they nail you again at some of the put in places fore a launch fee.

Some of the states advise is mostly common sense. Paddling sports are very popular recreational water sports in Pennsylvania. There are dangers that can be lessened with knowledge, preparation and practice. Primary hazards are capsizing, swamping or just falling out of the boat. Keep in mind that paddling is a “get wet” sport.


  • Wear your life jacket. On average, 80 percent of all recreational boating fatalities happen to people who are not wearing a life jacket.
  • Expect to get wet and dress properly. Even the best paddlers sometimes capsize or swamp their boats.
  • Be prepared to swim. If the water looks too hazardous to swim in, don’t go paddling.
  • If you capsize, hold on to your boat, unless it presents a life-threatening situation.
  • Scout ahead whenever possible. Know the river. Avoid surprises.
  • Be prepared for the weather. Get a forecast before you go.
  • Wear wading shoes or tennis shoes with wool, polypropylene, pile or neoprene socks.
  • Never take your boat over a low-head dam.
  • Portage (carry) your boat around any section of water about which you feel uncertain.
  • Never boat alone. Boating safety increases with numbers.
  • Keep painter lines (ropes tied to the bow) and any other ropes coiled and secured.
  • Never tie a rope to yourself or to another paddler, especially a child.
  • Kneel to increase your stability before entering rougher water, like a rapid.
  • If you collide with an obstruction, lean toward it.
  • Be sure to leave a float plan. It’s a written statement that details your intended trip and is provided to a friend, neighbor or marina operator. Include specifics about the vessel, equipment, crew and departure and arrival times.

Except for that last one. This is one long damn trip I’m going on. Can’t even tell you when it ends. Or even if it ends. This first trip is around 70-100 mile round trip and the next is around 300 miles from start to finish…. The next is all the ways down to Nola. Somewhere in there I’m looking at a full time live aboard situation. Who knows where the adventure will take me.


About theelderdragon15601

This entry was posted in Boats, Design, DIY, Homebrew, Kayak, Open Source, Preparations, Rowing, Sailing, Scow, Uncategorized, Water Safety. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Trip, The Plans.

  1. Sixbears says:

    The safety regs pretty much just make sense.

    I see the PA tax man takes his pound of flesh. I still don’t have to pay anything to paddle a canoe in NH, VT, and ME -all the places I normally paddle.

  2. Craig says:

    Ah, the joys of bureaucracy… In TX canoes, kayaks, rowboats, and sailboats less than 14′ are exempt. That’s why Keep It Sailing Stupid is 13′ 11 3/4″ in length : ) Yeah, float plans are pretty tough with that kind of itinerary.

  3. Elder Dragon says:

    I gotta check with the state rep on the registration issues. Otherwise they will be bleeding me dry on the amount of boats I plan to build. I got some free plans on a kayak design called the Laker 13. It should be a good build to get my feet wet on. It’s a stitch, glue, and tap build. Fully fileted even.
    Overall Length 13′
    Cockpit Size 20″ x 40″
    Max. Beam 26.5″
    Height at bow/max/stern 11″/15″/11″
    Estimated weight* 30-45 lbs.
    Recommended total weight on board
    110-250 lbs
    I glue it up soonest the weather breaks. I don’t want to play with cold epoxy. I hope my record of always building boats that float well holds out. Model craft was one thing, but this is the real McCoy.

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