View Full Version : Lifeguard dory

08-30-2000, 07:10 PM
Can anyone tell me where to find plans for an 18-20 foot, double ended, self bailing rowboat, such as those used by lifeguards in rescues and competitions. It would have to be able to be built from plywood. Thanks

08-30-2000, 07:42 PM
Hmm, self bailing in a 20 ft dory. Sounds like some conflicting parameters if you factor in low enough floor boards to make it enjoyable to row. Look at Gardner's dory book for a double ender that sounds like yours. His surf dory, but not self bailing.

What are you gonna do with it? The thing about dorys; their form is so elegantly bouyant they rarely need to be self bailing.

[This message has been edited by ishmael (edited 08-30-2000).]

08-30-2000, 08:08 PM
I'm going to row it through the Costa Rican surf and live bait gamefish from it.

08-30-2000, 08:29 PM
Self-bailing seems rare in a wooden boat, the competition lifeguard boats that are self bailing tend to be fiberglass, they are built to look like the traditional surfboats but to me they are surfboards with high sides built on, they rely on a foam core bottom. But, traditional wooden surfboats are designed to launch through the surf and not take on too much water, so they really should do as well or better, for your purpose. Thats the other thing, a real traditional surfboat is built to carry quite a load, in severe conditions. Despite the fact that they are not self-bailing, they are probably safer. I am building an 18 foot lapstrake boat known as a sea bright skiff, but its designer calls it a surf dory. It is a style widely used by lifeguards in this area. It could be built with glued plywood laps, and be easier to maintain and lighter. That is what I would want if I could have a surfboat that I intended to use through the surf. Good luck.

08-30-2000, 08:32 PM
Hi Clarich,

I've thought about what I imagine you're up to a fair amount. What I come up with, rather than trying to make it self bailing, is sealed compartments in the ends. I was gonna make them with a fairly heavily arched turtle deck, and hatches, likely in the bulkheads, and good high washboards. Even swamped I fig'red it wouldn't go so badly.

Look at Gardner, if you haven't already. Best of luck, Ishmael

P.S. There is an old maxim about dories. If you are out and get in trouble, lie down in the bottom and let the boat take care of itself. It will.

Just to point to the inherent bouyancy and sea worthiness of the type.

[This message has been edited by ishmael (edited 08-30-2000).]

Ian McColgin
08-31-2000, 08:33 AM
My Chamberlain gunning dory Leeward spent her first quarter century with foam in bow and stern, which was nice enough for safety but I was always bothered with bailing after a rain and a couple of rough weather tows caused her to fill with spray and become a read drag.

So I made some framing to support a deck 3-1/2" above the bottom with myriad holes such that I could completely fill the void with poured in foam. Major PIA calculating the various volumes so that I'd mix the right amount of foam for each void. Happy to share the horror with anyone trying same. Anyway, finished with glass and epoxy and elvstrom bailers between frames 5 and 6.

Works finastkind. Highly recommended.

05-21-2004, 09:04 AM
Dory bump.

05-21-2004, 01:56 PM
Here is a design that meets the needs of the original post! http://butlerprojects.com/gundory.html


Self bailing would be achieved by foaming the bildge to above the waterline and then use scuppers fore & aft - not sure I'd do that but modifications are certainly the builder's choice.