Small Boats & Paddle Crafts

Folding Boat: Assemble and Break-down is Fast and Easy

A compact-sized folding boat – at 6-ft (1.8-m) to 12-ft (3.6-m) – is designed to fold for convenient transportation and storage. Foldable boats are constructed in lightweight materials, such as man-made fabrics, and finished with supporting framework.

Folding KayakThis matches the need of the boater who cannot store or trail a full-size boat. These simple-to-erect, disassemble, and pack in a storage bag collapsible boats, require up to 2-hours to set up.

Some of the folding boats offer a solid transom for mounting a small 2 to 4HP petrol or electric engine, but some will accept a 9.9HP engine. Clean, quiet, and fuel-efficient, these small engines come with user-friendly features for better control and maneuverability. If auxiliary power is desired, anything more than 10HP is not recommended due to the lightweight nature of the crafts. In general, portable boats will do with only a 2HP engine.

Ease in set-up

Designed for ease in set-up. By virtue most, if not all the parts of the foldable craft are readily available. This means in the event of a loss or damage to a particular piece, it is a simple process of having the item replaced or repaired in isolation of all other parts. A dual benefit results – minimal downtime and low, to minimal repair costs. Also, a further point to note is that vessels cannot be punctured, as seen with the inflatable.

Compact design

An appropriately designed portable vessel sized to pack small in a storage bag offers complete ease in stowing in the trunk of a vehicle en route to a paddling adventure or stored in times of non-use at home – under a bed, in a closet, inside an athletic locker, etc. Outside in a garage or workshop are also options. A ceiling hoist system provides a great choice for prolonged storage or winterization.


Folding boats have become a lot more common of late. Non-folding aluminum and inflatable boats are still a lot more popular in the marine marketplace, despite the popularity of certain collapsible boats, such as the Porta-Bote, Folbot, and Pakboat for instance. Each of these can easily rival or better some of the similar deployed boats of a rigid construction. Also, these boats often retail at a price higher than the inflatable or rigid counterparts.

Type of construction

Folding boats are available in several different categories. Kayaks, canoes, and dinghies are the most tried and tested – can come manufactured with outer skins made of a resilient water-resistant fabric – with some companies incorporating air-pockets to aid in buoyancy and stability. Supporting materials for the frames are split between a hard-wearing plastic, a lightweight aluminum or the dependable wood – although some small boats can feature a combination of these.

If used in open waters or heavy weather, bear in mind the freeboard height (distance from waterline to upper-deck level) as the small dinghies and folding boat often have a low freeboard – the higher the sides of the hull, the drier, and more comfortable the boat will stay.

In summary

All in all, an extremely compact folding boat, kayak or canoe is perfect for light tour trips on quiet, flat waters, as a tender dinghy for larger vessels, or used in conjunction with a recreational vehicle, such as a full-size motor-home.

Small Boats & Paddle Crafts

Kayak Hoist: Canoe & Kayak Ceiling Hoists

Easy-to-use, safe, and reliable the kayak hoist systems are designed with a thick, reliable rope, solid engineering, and safety-catch to support paddling machines up to 150-pounds.

Versatile in use, the kayak ceiling hoist is available in multiple configurations, with models designed to hold a 1-person kayak, raft or canoe up to a maximum weight limit of 50-pound, to those designed to hold 2-person or multiple canoes, and accepting a maximum weight limit in the region of 300-pounds.

Hoist Features

Ceiling mounted, the garage hoist system, with its adjustable straps (guarantees a raft, canoe or kayak is kept in position), safety release latch (puts a stop to accidental release), and rubber-coated hooks (protects from abrasions or scuffs) is built to hold a Old Town, Ocean, Perception, or Native Watercraft at a height of approx 12-foot above floor level.

  • Supports a 50, 100, 125 or 150-lbs weight limit
  • Protects kayaks from scratches via the rubber coated hooks
  • Smooth operating pulley and latch system
  • Avoids un-wanted release with reliable safety mechanism
  • Thick rope for long-term use
  • Accepts all-types of paddling machines (canoe, kayaks, dinghies and rafts)

Easy for a single person to control, the kayak hoist system is constructed with a smooth rope or pulley system to lift or lower a raft in a solid, flat position via use of its two ropes; one attached to each end of the machine, and safely positions a kayak at ceiling height in minutes.

Perfect to mount on either open rafters or finished ceiling, the kayak storage systems are supplied with all assembly hardware (lift, pulleys, screws, rope, etc) for ease in positioning in an unobstructed space.

Push-button Hoists and Motorized Pulleys

Raise or lower a kayak, canoe or raft with a simple-to-operate electric hoist system – lifting a much higher load limit, often in the region of 225 – 250-pounds. Push-button control, the electric hoists operate via a 110-volt outlet, flex-corded hand control, and reliable ¾-HP motor – An efficient solution to eliminate a lot of the clutter that builds up in a garage space – and a great choice if wishing to avoid the strain of man-handling a paddling machine into position.

Other Well-Situated Systems

Racor, Harken Hoister, BAC Industries, and ProSource design and manufacture a series of kayak hoist pulley system to lift a raft – up to 17-ft 9” – to a safe, and secure ceiling height.

1- Storage Rack

A free-standing, super portable, and lightweight solution for organizing multiple canoes, kayaks, surfboards, or similar sports equipment – A floor-based rack is designed to hold paddling machines up to 30-inch in width, up to 20-foot in length, and up to 75-pound in weight.

2 – Wall Cradle

Load almost all kayak models – up to a 100-pounds in weight and 15-inch in depth – onto a steel constructed wall cradle for a safe, reliable hold. Cradles are foam padded to guarantee scratch-free protection of a paddling machine.

3 – Boat Hanger

A versatile solution to hang up to 3 kayaks in a safe, horizontal position – easily adaptable, the boat hangers come with multiple webbing loops which attach to the ceiling for a safe anchoring position.

Versatile in use, the multi-use kayak hoists offer the benefit of lifting or lowering a wide variety of garden or household objects often confined to a workshop or garage, such as deck furniture, adult-size bicycles, sports apparatus, ladders, dock boxes, garden tools, etc.

Also, in order to arrange sufficient boat insurance coverage it is often a requirement to store or secure a small craft against theft or vandalism – or at least remove all equipment if left out in the open – kayak storage systems of this nature will help to comply with these requirements.

All in all, a simple-to-use kayak hoist offers a space-saving solution to lift or lower kayaking equipment – up to 150-lbs – or similar other garage clutter to get back a lot more lost floor space.


Small Boats & Paddle Crafts

Flats Boats: What Is A Flat Bottom Boat

Flat bottom boats, at 10 to 20-ft in length, with its raised platforms, stern or bow-mounted trolling engine, and spacious storage areas, are built to offer a solid, reliable platform for the dedicated fisherman – and comes with a high-degree of ‘pole-ability’ for ease in maneuvering in still or shallow bodies of water and ‘fish-ability’ due to its large, stable flat bottom.

tracker-flats-boatOutside of a light-chop to calm waters, the flat bottom boat designs are not a practical option due its failure to cope in rough waters or ‘cut through’ waves – unless a waters surface is calm and flat, the ride is expected to be rough with a great deal of splash to the hull.

Popular manufactures –

Even though the wide, flat bottom boats start at 8 to 10-feet in length, it’s stable construction and spacious interior give a lot of space for storage, and a great deal more that the round-hull or V-bottom boat of equal dimensions.

1 – Fisher Boats

Manufacture a high-quality selection of reliable, easy-to-handle riveted Utility & Jon Boats, at 10ft to 16ft 22” in length, and all-welded Utility Boats, at 14ft to 20ft 3” in length, for ease in cruising shallow bodies of water. Features include raised platforms, spacious storage areas, aerated livewells, and full-width bench seats.

2 – Lowe Boats

Manufacture a series of marine-grade aluminum Utility and Riveted Jon Boats, at 10ft to 20ft in length, and featuring rounded, formed-in keels, a solid paint finish, and a reliable lifting handle.

3 – Tracker Boats

Manufacture a series of easy-to-maneuver, versatile, and water-ready Riveted Jon and Utility Boats, at 10ft to 20ft 4” in length, for use on rugged fishing and hunting trips.

4 – Alweld Boats

Manufacture a high-quality series of Flat Bottomed ‘Econo’ Jons, at 10ft to 17ft in length, featuring an aluminum construction, bow seat, single rear seat, paint options, and a choice of custom configurations.

Maverick Boat Company, G3 Boats, and War Eagle Boats also offer a choice of rugged, highly maneuverable and solid-performing utility boats for use on shallow bodies of water. Built in marine-grade aluminum, these boat types are fully outfitted for the dedicated fisherman or hunter, which an option to customize the specification to tailor a particular use.

Flats Boats for Sale

Purchasing one of the latest models of flats boats for sale is at times at high-cost endeavor, even so this will guarantee an operational fishing craft, with the option to select a specific configuration, and comes with a manufacturer’s warranty.

Alternative options include the second-hand, ex demo, or repossessed boats, with purchasing options for such shallow water boats available at boat forecourts, online auction sites (eBay and Craigslist for example), BY bulletin boards, classified ads, etc.

Beside the flat bottom boat for shallow water applications, other configurations for use on open waters consist of the cathedral hull, round hull, and V-bottom hull.

Self-build a Utility Boat

High-quality flat bottom boat plans are available to aid in self-constructing a 16 to 18-ft flats boats in marine-grade plywood, with a self-bailing cockpit, spacious storage, shallow draft, and sight platform. Boat plans come complete with full size, detailed, or illustrated step-by-step guidelines to help through each stage of the build, as well as a materials list and tools required.

Also, if self-building a flat boats it might be a requirement to arrange for a out-of-the-water inspection to the carried out by a competent surveyor or boat builder prior to putting in place all-risk boat insurance coverage – this is often a need for vessels at 18-ft plus. Although, if the craft is of low-value, a third party or liability only policy should be sufficient, and this wouldn’t call on a survey or inspection report.

Whether it is for poling the backwaters of a calm lake, the shallows of quiet-river, or waters of the coastal flats, the flat bottom boats are designed to provide a high-quality casting platform that is highly maneuverable for a wide variety of applications, such as all-types of fishing or hunting in shallow bodies of water.

Small Boats & Paddle Crafts

All-Purpose Shallow Water Jon Boats

Durable, reliable and economical, the riveted and all-welded aluminum Jon boats (also referred to as flat-bottomed boats) are perfect for shallow bodies of water and used for waterfowl hunting, hauling, fishing, and other commercial activities.

Jon BoatTough built, the riveted boats are meant to be worked hard, while at the same time maintaining the appearance for years to come. Pull a modified-v or standard flat Jon up a rocky bank or left strapped in the bed of a truck and these hard-wearing vessels will tough it out against all the odds. Jon boats are finished in a standard olive-green or camo-type paint scheme.

Popular Brands of Riveted or Welded Jon Boats –

Available in several different configurations, the manufacturers (Alumacraft, Crestliner, Lowe, Lund, Princecraft, etc) of the flat-bottomed boats offer a wide beam width, a spacious deck area, and multiple storage options for rod lockers and gun boxes. Multiple seating options are also available. Fish-based options consist of the fish finders, trolling motors, moveable pedestal seats, and aerated livewells.

  1. Alumacraft manufacture a series of ultra-light, smooth-handling, and solid-working traditional flat and V-bottom Boats, at 10 to 16 feet in length, with a toughened construction (wider and stronger ribs) to create one of the most dependable options in the marketplace. Paint finish is often an olive drab green.
  2. Crestliner manufacture a series of 15 to 20 ft all-welded Jon Boats to create unmatched versatility for fishing or hunting in shallow waters – and available in several different configurations to match the planned use. Paint finish comes in a resilient olive drab green or camouflage.
  3. Lowe Manufacture a series of all-welded aluminum Jon boats, at 14 to 20 feet in length, with extra-wide bottoms and beam widths for a stable and reliable performance. Built for all applications – hunt – fish or both, these tough-as-nails boats are perfect in the toughest waters. Paint finish is often drab, green enamel paint.
  4. Lund Manufacture a series of 10 to 18 feet high-strength, alloy-riveted Jon boats to give a high degree of performance and stability in shallow bodies of water. Constructed with extruded ribs, formed-in keels, and spray rails, these utility boats are perfect for the series fowl hunter or angler. Paint finish is in a choice of standard or optional color schemes.
  5. Princecraft manufacture a series of solid built riveted aluminum Jon boats, at 10 to 14 feet in length, offering maximum strength and durability for all-types of shallow water applications. A series of utility boats that is highly efficient with an ability to run smooth and run steady. Paint finish is a hard-wearing olive drab coating.

Self-build Utility Boat Plans

Elsewhere, for the DIY enthusiast, an authentic set of boat plans or complete kits offer the perfect opportunity to self-construct a 10 to 15 feet flat-bottom boat for several different applications. DIY plans, with complete step-by-step directions help with each stage of the build process, and include advice on constructing the gunwales, seat stringers, frames, chine logs, etc.

In Summary

Overall, the all-purpose, dependable, and economical aluminum Jon boats are built to survive all on-water applications – from hunting or fishing activities to hauling loads or commercial activities – and exhibit a high degree of ruggedness and stability.