Thursday, 22 October 2009

The next big project

I was talking to a guy last night, he he'd said that with advances in materials, they can run hovercraft year-round, even in the interior. I was surprised. And then he tells me apparently they'd been running them up on the slope for a while now, in colder-than-Bethel temperatures. Why doesn't anyone tell me these things!

Part of the reason why I've been thinking about hovercrafts so much is I've begun drafting out my next project. While building my kayak, I started dreaming about building a larger boat - not much longer (my kayak is ~17ft), but wider and with a deeper draft. I'd rolled around projects the whole time I was building the kayak, and talked to some pro-ship builders who were generally supportive. I've even go as far as to begin researching, before doing - a novel idea, for me! I found a shipwrights manual from ~1910, reprinted in the 40s, that I've found incredibly interesting.

However, I've recently run into a bit of a jam. It turns out that since the 1910s, federal regulations governing powered boat safety have got incredibly complex. I hadn't read half the required paperwork, and I'm already feeling incredibly overwhelmed. I almost feel like I need someone who's done this before to hold my hand through all the regulatory work! So while I have a lot of drafting ahead of me, if I'm going to make this project work, I need to spend even more time learning the legalities of boat building.

Interestingly enough, the only legal requirement for a hovercraft is that it have a flashing light.
Maybe it's time to bone up on my aluminum welding? ;)


dragonfly said...

Boat sounds cool, but hovercraft...! If you're taking a poll, that's my vote. I'm intrigued by their use in cold weather environments.

Alaskan Dave Down Under said...

Heck, do both the hovercraft and the boat!

TwoYaks said...

Haha. I was joking about about how it'd be easier. :) Hovercraft are complex! And you can't build them from wood. I haven't welded in... gosh, better part of a decade, now. I've moved into the rod burner's club! ;)

William B Swift said...

It quite possibly has changed since then, but as of the 1970s, the federal regulations mostly came into play if you were building the boat for sale rather than personal use. The Coast Guard regulations remained the same for both; backfire flash preventer, fire fighting and safety gear, and so on. I vaguely remember hearing about a requirement for flotation being added in the 80s or 90s, but that it was mostly satisfied in wooden boats by the hull's inhernet flotation. Good luck. Also, what type are you considering, a river boat, inshore, or what?

flying fish said...

CFRs. It's all a distant nightmare, but if the boat is small(length and tonnage) and you're not carrying passengers...doesn't the Coast Guard just want you to be able to put out a fire, not poop in the water, and remain afloat if the boat doesn't?