Mini Tug: A Father/Son Boat Building Project

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Project by dblply2 posted 11-29-2018 05:03 PM 3966 views 2 times favorited 29 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hey everyone,
It’s been a while since I posted but here is what I/we’ve been working on for the past 12 months. My 13 year-old has wanted to build a boat for some time now. I agreed to his project for three reasons: First that it looked pretty cool and would be a fun thing to have at our family cabin in Idaho. Secondly, I wanted him to learn new skills and get comfortable in using different tools. And lastly, because he is 13 and his time living with us at home (before heading off to college) is getting shorter. I have made it a goal that I will build a decent sized project with each of our kids before they head out for college. We have 6 kids so I have my work cut out for me!

We looked at a ton of plans and decided on this one. Ordered up the plans and got to work. He did great, was a quick learner, and did a lot of the work himself. In fact, some days I would get a call at work from him “Dad, what can I do on the boat today?” “Well son, how about fiberglassing the hull sides and putting on a coat of epoxy every 4 hours?” When I’d get home, it would be done.

I’m super proud of him. And he is super proud of his boat. He is also 1/2 owner as he spent a fair amount of his own money to finance it.

I can’t believe how it handles either. With the 20hp outboard it did 27MPH wide open. It turns on a dime and is very stable (one of my criteria for selecting this plan). To see a clip of it running (not even fully wide open) here is a link to the Facebook page from the designer: Berkeley Engineering

A little about the build:
It’s made with marine plywood.
We used 8 gallons of epoxy and lots of fiberglass cloth.
Lots and lots of sanding.
Marine paint.
10’ long with a flat bottom and a box keel.
It took approximately 170 hours to build.

I would suggest this to anyone with kids to make time to build something with them, it WILL have a lifetime affect on them.

Happy boating,

29 comments so far

View Mojo1's profile


286 posts in 3766 days

#1 posted 11-29-2018 05:39 PM


View htl's profile


5424 posts in 2235 days

#2 posted 11-29-2018 05:58 PM

Way cute and would be so much fun to build and play on.

-- An Index Of My Model making Blogs

View tfiner's profile


8 posts in 1371 days

#3 posted 11-29-2018 06:12 PM

Wow! That is really, really cool. Great parenting too!

View pottz's profile


16776 posts in 2060 days

#4 posted 11-29-2018 07:32 PM

hey i looked up cool in wikipedia and a picture of this tug boat came up.nice work dad you just made memories that will last his lifetime.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View Artie623's profile


116 posts in 936 days

#5 posted 11-29-2018 07:41 PM

Awesome…. I seen the commercially made (and larger) mini-tugs…. they’ve always fascinated me. Yours reminds me of something out of a Disney cartoon !

View tyvekboy's profile


2112 posts in 4089 days

#6 posted 11-29-2018 09:02 PM

Great Job. Good father/son bonding project.

What did you name her?

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View ralbuck's profile


6743 posts in 3342 days

#7 posted 11-29-2018 10:17 PM

Really nice and a great shi/op project for a 13 year old to work on.

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View fivecodys's profile


1731 posts in 2712 days

#8 posted 11-29-2018 10:54 PM

That was a really good idea. This story will be handed down for generations.
I love this kind of stuff!

-- A bad day woodworking is still better than a good day working.

View Robert Verrier's profile

Robert Verrier

8 posts in 890 days

#9 posted 11-29-2018 11:03 PM

Great project and I’m positive you enjoyed the build. Especially getting to do it with your son. Congrats on a very nice boat.

View anthm27's profile


1809 posts in 2186 days

#10 posted 11-29-2018 11:26 PM

That is absolutely superb that is.
Nice work.

-- There is no hope for any of us if we keep apologizing for telling the truth.

View poopiekat's profile


4930 posts in 4810 days

#11 posted 11-29-2018 11:50 PM

Good to see a small boat come to life!

I was sure it was a Glen-L boat plan, until I read your description.

You must be exceptionally proud of your son, and this finished project!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View Woodbridge's profile


3747 posts in 3494 days

#12 posted 11-30-2018 12:52 AM

very cool!

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View corelz125's profile


2762 posts in 2052 days

#13 posted 11-30-2018 02:01 AM

Outstanding work and story

View PaulDoug's profile


2542 posts in 2779 days

#14 posted 11-30-2018 02:26 AM

Congratulation to father and some. What a great build and an awesome way to spend quality time together..

-- “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

View swirt's profile


6181 posts in 4048 days

#15 posted 11-30-2018 02:43 AM

Well done Father and son. Great results and I am sure great times in the build and in the use.

-- Galootish log blog,

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