Alternative Materials and Methods for Construction of Native Fishing Boats

Alternative Materials and Methods for
the Construction of Native Fishing Boats

*****Under Construction******* 19 May 1997


As markets for recreational craft go into a no or slow growth period it is only natural for the recreational boat building industry to begin to look elsewhere for growth. One potential area is the mass production of fishing boats for natives. As rural parts of the world become more industrialized and as the availability of "good wood" for the construction of native fishing craft decreases, the demand for another source for native fishing boats is beginning to emerge. A variety of different craft are utilized by natives (canoes, small outboard powered canoes, small inboard powered trawlers). A great deal of research has already been done in this area by a special United Nations group. Additionally, several new technologies may lend themselves to economically forming and constructing crafts of this nature. This report will provide some basic information and numerous references in this area. Those interested in more in depth information can contact us directly by E-mail at or give us a call at (800) 443-6543.

United Nations FAO

A major information source in this area is the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations headquartered in Rome Italy. Their fisheries department has done a great deal of research in this area and printed many excellent resources. Some of them are listed below along with their call numbers at the Oklahoma State University Library. Most of their work focuses on 10-17 meter craft for net fishing but many also discuss smaller "canoe like" craft. With the exception of the 1972 Ferro-Cement publication, all are soft back. The 1972 work was bound by Fishing News (Books)Ltd. Information about many of the FAO publications below is available from their gopher tech paper site. Use the technical paper numbers listed with the publications below to find the particular paper you are interested in.

You can try to obtain the FAO reports from a major library, by interlibrary loan, or from the FAO itself.

The FAO Fisheries Dept. actually has a small island developing states program which might provide some help and resources for the development of craft.

Another Ferro-Cement Boat Building Book

For those wanting to know more about Ferro-Cement boat production, Databoat makes a book available titled Ferro-Cement: Design Techniques and Application by Bruce Bingham in 1974. 444pgs..

U.S. Military Solicitation

The U.S. military has been developing several RIB's (Rigid Inflatable Boat's) for high load carrying. A current solicitation for such a craft is copied below. Most of these are flat bottom craft and many have been built by Zodiac. They are usually propelled by outboards, ducted outboards, jets, or stern drives.

OBJECTIVE: Propel a 15-foot rubber inflatable boat in the open ocean loaded with 2000 pounds at 18 knots in sea state three. Provide responsive propulsion in transitioning the surf zone and during slow speed maneuvers.

DESCRIPTION: The propulsion system must be safe for people in the water near the boat. The propulsion system shall be light weight with an objective of less than 140 pounds. It is desired that the system be capable of being submersed to a minimum depth of 75 feet of sea water for a minimum of 12 hours with preparation. After submersion the system shall be started without tools in 3-6 minutes and the system shall function properly. The system is desired to have a fuel economy of 3.5 NM per gallon of fuel. The system is desired to have a mean time to repair of 4 hours and a mean time between failures of 200 hours.

PHASE I: Develop a system design for a Inflatable boat propulsion system. The design must meet the requirements listed in the description. The propulsion concept shall be demonstrated.

PHASE II: Develop, fabricate, and test prototype. The prototype will be tested against the existing MARS engine and other competing systems to determine the optimum system to meet fleet requirements.

PHASE III: Transition prototype designs into Marine Corps inventory.

COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL: Provides safe, strong, and trustworthy propulsion system for small marine craft.

REFERENCES: Operational Requirements Document for Inflatable boat Propulsion System

Source: 97000853: DOD SBIR Solicitations 97.2
Department of Defense (DOD) Department of the Navy (NAVY)

Misc: Opening Date: Thurs., May 1, 1997 Closing Date: Wed., July 16, 1997

You may contact the Help Desk by: Phone: 800-382-4634 (8AM to 8PM EST) Fax: 800-462-4128 Inquiries of a general nature may be brought to the Navy SBIR Program Office's attention and should be addressed to: Office of Naval Research ATTN: NAVY SBIR PROGRAM, CODE 362 800 North Quincy Street, RM 633 Arlington, VA 22217-5660

Contacts: Peter Tabor

Explosive Forming

A technology that is currently being developed, called explosive forming, electro-hydraulic forming or hyperplasticity might lend itself to these kinds of crafts. Basically a mold is constructed, usually put underwater with the aluminum sheet laid over the mold and a vacuum pulled between it and the mold. Two large electrical wires run parallel through the water. An electrical voltage is put across the wires and when the charge leaps through the water it vaporizes the water which creates an explosion that pushes the sheet in to the mold at a high rate of speed. A cruder form just uses dynamite to blow the sheet into the mold. A Business Week 19 June 1995 page 128 article describes the interest of the automotive metal forming industry in this technology.

Below are several patents describing the technology and its applications to boat hull forming. Copies of these patents in various forms can be obtained from the Patent Links on our Other Links Page

Several additional references are also mentioned in the patents.

Ohio State's Department of Materials Science and Engineering is one of the groups investigating the explosive forming of sheet metal. Below are a few links to some of their information posted on the web.

One technical article of interest is, "Combustion of operations in electrohydraulic pulse forming of thin walled cylindrical shells." Published in Surface Engineering and Applied Electrochemistry 1993 No2 pg.44.

An Approach

The most promising methods and materials were: If you are focusing on smaller "canoe like" native fishing craft, I would obtain copies of the FAO publications:Flat Bottom Boat Design:1, Fishing Boat Construction: 2 Building a Fiberglass Fishing Boat, and Fishing Boat Construction: 3 Building a Ferrocement Fishing Boat. If Ferrocement began to interest me, I would obtain a copy of the earlier 1972 work as well.

I suggest you "read up" on the explosive forming method and see if it fits your needs.

If RIBS interest you, look at some of Zodiac products and check up on the military solicitation listed above.

Contact the FAO Fisheries Division and see if they can provide some technical assistance.

Evaluate the technologies based upon your specific applications, resources, and economics. One of the FAO reports had an excellent evaluation procedure in it, I do not recall which one, but assume it was the Fiberglass or Ferrocement report.

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