How to Build the Best Layout Boat?

Build layout boat

Any experienced waterfowl hunter knows that having the right type of boat can make the hunt much easier. Whether it’s your first time or your 40th time going out on the water, you can benefit from having the best waterfowl hunting boat possible for your situation. One thing that a lot of waterfowl hunters enjoy doing in the off season is learning how to build a layout boat to add to their collection.

The Difference Between a Large Boat Blind and a Layout Boat

If you haven’t used a layout boat before, you may not actually know what the purpose of this type of boat is (those of you have used a layout boat may be able to skip this section).

Layout boats and boat blinds are similar in design, but layout boats are much smaller and useful for tighter spaces. Large boat blinds can be useful for lakes, larger rivers, and other big waterways that you may be hunting on, whereas a layout boat gives you more freedom to move into smaller areas and much tighter spaces without causing a huge stir or getting stuck.

How to Use a Layout Boat?

A layout boat is generally meant for single person use only, not double. It’s supposed to be a small boat that can be deployed on smaller waterways and obstructed areas that are too tight a fit for traditional waterfowl hunting boats. These boats are built to look inconspicuous while also being useful enough to carry some necessary gear for you. You won’t be able to take everything with you on a layout boat, but you should be able to get your necessities and a little extra depending on the type of boat you build!

Don’t use a layout boat for every hunting situation, unless you don’t have any other options. Layout boats are most useful when dealing with smaller waterways, and aren’t always the best fit for large bodies of water like lakes or strong rivers.

Besides being used for smaller spaces, layout boats can also help you to get more up close and personal with your prey before you make your shot. This is a great idea if you want to take better shots and have a higher chance of going home successful on any given day. All of this can be accomplished with virtually no cover in a layout boat.

How to Make a Useful and Sturdy Layout Boat?

Above all else, layout boats need to be waterproof and lightweight. Most hunters take these boats along with them, even if they are mainly using a larger boat blind, because they can be useful in case of unexpected difficulties. You need to be prepared to create a layout boat that’s sturdy enough to be a useful waterfowl hunting boat.

Here are a few tips on how to build a layout boat that’s both strong and useful:

  • Use lightweight, yet sturdy materials such as fiberglass
  • Complete a hull design with strong, treated plywood for lighter weight without compromising too much on strength
  • Don’t skimp out on the epoxy, as this will be useful for sealing up the entire boat hull
  • Take your time wot measure and align each piece properly for the greatest strength

Tools and Skills Needed

You may need a few tools that you don’t have to complete a project like this, but above all you will need space to do the build. Any plans you find on how to build a layout boat will take you time, even if you’re working alongside another person. Generally, the shortest amount of time that you will be able to build a layout boat in, with the help of another person, is the weekend. However, if you’re working alone than you may need a space for much longer, up to even a month or two depending on your time constraints.

Most layout boats can be built with a measuring tape, table saw or skill saw, belt sander, and a carpenter’s square. If you get a set of more advanced plans, you may need to add to this basic list of equipment, but that is up to you and your knowledge or abilities, as well as your budget for the project.

Plans for Building a Layout Boat

While there are plans for layout boats for sale, you can also get your hands on a lot of fantastic designs that are completely free. I have selected some of my favorites for you to see if you can find them useful at all.

This is a basic design for a medium-large layout boat:

Medium-Large Square Layout Boat

Here is a design for a more famous and commonly used type of layout boat:

Kara Hummer

If you want a more complex and in-depth set of instructions to follow, here is a detailed plan for a lightweight sneakboat style layout boat:

Sneakboat Layout Boat

For anyone that wants a lot of options, here is a great selection of some of the popular designs for layout boats:

Various Layout Boat Designs


Reading and learning about how to build a layout boat can be a great project for the off-season. This boat will be a wonderful addition to arsenal and will help you in a number of different situations, so you can’t lose by building your own ideal layout boat!