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Don't tell me that I can't. Tell me how I can.
Disclaimer:   I am not a spokesperson for the US Coast Guard or ABYC. For an official interpretation of regulations or standards you must contact the US Coast Guard or other organization referenced..   More.....


Fiberglass Boat layup Disclaimer: Throughout this site, I try to provide contact information for the US Coast Guard, ABYC and other organizations. The information on this website, unless it is a direct quote from the US Coast Guard, the American Boat And Yacht Council or other entity, or the United States Code, Code Of Federal Regulations, or from a published standard, is my own interpretation of the rules and regulations. I try to keep this as accurate as possible, but laws change, standards are revised, and personnel administering those change. Some standards are controversial. Other persons may have different interpretations or methods of achieving an equivalent level of safety to comply with the regulations and standards. This is a personal web site and not affiliated with the U. S. Coast Guard. Any mistakes are the author's.
If you have a comment or question, contact me here.

1.  This site is free to all users.

2. This is an ad-free site,  no user data is collected. 

3.  This site is aimed specifically at persons entering the boatbuilding business but the information is also useful for repairers and boat owners.

4.  I will always try to keep the information simple, in plain english, free of legal jargon, and understandable to anyone.  If I must use a legal or nautical term I will try to provide a defintion or explanation of the term.  I also make sure to differentiate Regulations (laws) from Standards (voluntaty industry accepted standards).

5.  I will always try to keep the information up to date. Any omissions or corrections will be gladly accepted.

6.  I will try to keep the design up to date using current coding methods, but simple enough to load quickly on most computers, tablets or smart phones. This site was not specifically designed for use with phones but testing has shown it does fit the screen size of most smart phones although I do not recommend it.

About this site:

This site was created primarily for the prospective or newly established boat builder but has proven to be useful to boat owners. It is intended to be a reference for the beginning boat builder who has decided to build boats and sell them. It does not tell you how to build boats, although it has many links to such sites on
 Ike's List.
It does tell you what things you need to know if you are building or planning to build boats and sell them.

This is not just for wood boats, or fiberglass boats, but for all boats.  The rules, regulations and standards here apply to all recreational boats.  They apply primarily to small craft under 60 feet but that is not a hard and fast rule.  For instance, all recreational boats are required to have a Hull Identification Number regardless of size. Another instance is gasoline fuel systems. The rules apply to all recreational boats with permanently installed gasoline engines. I will state at the beginning of each subject what it applies to because Federal Regulations define what vessels each regulation applies to and ABYC standards do so as well.

The rules stated here apply primarily to boats manufactured and sold in the United States, and boats imported into the United States for the purpose of sale.  Boats imported into the USA by a private party for their own use may also have to meet these rules.  However, I will refer to Canadian and European Economic Community rules and the Recreational Craft Directive. Boats made in the USA for export to other countries must meet the rules for those countries.

It is the boat manufacturers responsibility to ensure that their products comply with the regulations or laws in the country where they manufacture and/or sell their products. They should get copies of the laws or standards that apply to their products and become thoroughly familiar with their contents. This web site can aide in doing that but boat manufacturers should consult with the US Coast Guard or the authority in their country to be sure that their products meet all of the regulations or standards that apply.

Contrary to what you have been told many times over, regulations are not necessarily a bad thing.  Regulations protect both the consuming public and you, the manufacturer.  They insure the public is getting a safe product and at the same time protect you the builder from frivolous lawsuits. They are not absolute protection, because they do not cover everything that can go wrong. But they provide the public assurance that you are offering a safe product.

This is not a commercial web site. I am not selling the information found here. It is readily available from many sources. However, I have compiled the electrical pages, the pages on Capacity/Loading and Flotation, and the pages on Gasoline Fuel Systems into e-books
which are for sale through my store
for a nominal fee. I do have to pay for the domain name and for the web site. There are no commercial ads on this site.  From the books I earn approximately $300.00 USD which is barely enough to pay for the site.

I have worked for many years in the boating and boat building field. I have noted the lack of information available for new boat builders. There are people who can help you.

The Coast Guard people that can help you are at Headquarters in Washington DC. They are all  dedicated professionals, very knowledgeable, and will help you any way they can. You can contact them at  202-372-1077 .  They also have a contract factory visit program and new builders are given priority on visits, usually within the first year. Their Web site is

There are others who can help you. The American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) is the standards organization for the boat building industry. They have standards that go way beyond what the Coast Guard has. I am a long time member, have served on committees, and know the people who work there and they are all very helpful and dedicated to boating safety.  Call them at 410-990-4460 or fax 410-990-4466. 
American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC)

The National Marine Manufacturers Association is the largest industry association for boat manufacturers.
National Marine Manufacturers Association

There are many other organizations for boat builders.

American Boat Builders and Repairers Association: http://www.abbra.org/

American Boatbuilders Association (ABA) http://www.ababoats.com/

Independent Boat Builders, Inc. (IBBI): http://www.iboatbuilders.com/

United Marine Manufacturers Association https://www.ummaonline.com/

Boat Design.net: http://www.boatdesign.net/net/

Wooden Boat Magazine and forum: https://www.woodenboat.org/

Metal Boat Society: https://metalboatsociety.wildapricot.org/

Professional Boat Builder: http://www.proboat.com/

There are many more on:

Ike's List

Also, most states or regions have a Marine Trade Association that represents its members in the state legislature or on Federal issues.  See ABYC's list of State Trade Associations

If you have feedback on any subject on this web site please contact me. My e-mail link is on every page at the bottom of the Home menu. Quite a few other people have contributed to the content and when possible I have given them an attribution and a link if they have a website or business.
contact me.

Enjoy the web site and I sincerely hope it helps you succeed with your boat building plans!

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American Boat And Yacht Council  Boat Design Net  Wooden Boat Foundation
This Web site may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material available in my efforts to advance understanding of educational, economic, and scientific issues, etc. I believe this constitutes a "fair use" of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this Web site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for nonprofit educational purposes. For more information see: www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this Web site for purposes of your own that go beyond "fair use", you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.