Ideas: One Ugly Boat

It was an idea that was… well… it’s a name that…. well…. it’s gone now.  One Ugly Boat was the idea of  a man named Harold, who dreamed that he could provide a basic boat kit for a very affordable price.  He knew it wasn’t pretty, but he thought it would work.   They showed up about 2004 and by late 2009 they were gone.

Here are a few archival pages from his site.  Perhaps there are still a few ideas worth remembering.

Build It…
Purchase a set of boat and trailer plans, and then build the boat yourself. The detailed plans are drawn with the first time builder in mind, and lead you step by step through the building process. You can purchase the needed components from suppliers and fabricators in your area, or you can purchase the pre-fabricated components from fabricators and suppliers we have established. Both the boat and the trailer are surprising simple to build. Building the boat yourself should give you the boat and trailer for about 1/3rd the cost of a comparable boat and trailer.

Assemble It…
Purchase a boat and trailer component kit that gives you the plans, plus the pre-welded hulls, the decks, the fasteners, and the trailer assembly, all ready to be bolted together. The boat is assembled on the trailer in your garage. You will save about 50% by assembling the pre-fabricated boat and trailer kit yourself.

Buy It Complete…
Purchase the boat and trailer completely assembled, and ready to roll. Buying the boat and trailer direct, using the pre-assembled plan, should save you more than 1/3rd the cost of a comparable boat and trailer package, plus give you a commercial grade boat like none other on the market.

Become a From Home Dealer…
Own your own business and earn extra income by acting as a local referral agent in your home market area. Income comes from two areas. You will earn commissions on each sale made from your sales referral activity. You can also earn income by assembling the boats for your customers. There is no up front investment required to be a Referral Agent or Assembly Provider.

There is no charge to discuss your ideas, answer your questions, or email you sketch prints of the boats shown on the site. Email us your ideas, your sketch print requests, or any comments or questions you may have.


The Pay Check Shanty is designed for the builder who wants a boat that can be built and assembled over a period of time on a pay as you go basis. The end result is a very livable 20 ft shanty that can be towed easily with a small van or car. The boat can also be used as a camper for long distance travel to far off places, and then parked in your yard or carport instead of a marina or storage yard.

The assembly is done using an incremental plan that gives you the boat almost immediately in a usable form, and then refined and expanded as money becomes available.

$1,500 gives you the kit for the trailer which is used as a base on which the boat is assembled. The trailer base kit includes the pre-welded aluminum frame assembly, plus twin Torflex axels. Torflex axels use a torsion bar construction that does not require leaf springs. The trailer frames are bolted together using hand held power tools, and requires only average tool handling skills.

Time to assemble the trailer should be around 14-16 hours. Wheels and tires for the trailer can be purchased from your local used auto parts yard.. Wood for the runners on the trailer can also be purchased from your home supply store, The aluminum trailer kit weighs 450 lbs ready to receive the boat.

The trailer base assembly can be blocked up without the tires and wheels giving you a stable platform on which to assemble the basic boat unit. If the boat will need to be moved around during assembly, you can put the wheels and tires onto the trailer.

$3,000 gives you the basic Boat Kit Platform. The kit includes the hulls, center motor pan, long side enclosure panels, and corner enclosure frames, all pre- welded and ready to be bolted together. If you want to include the optional spud anchor assemblies, add $400. To assemble the boat, the hulls are placed on the trailer frame base, and plywood floor panels are attached, giving you the boat assembly starter unit. If a remote motor control is planned, steering and motor control cables can be located and installed. Wood is then used to top off the enclosure panels and corners. These wood caps will become part of the house assembly which will be added in the next step.

Once the plywood floors are installed, the side enclosure panels and corner deck frames can be added. This gives you a pontoon boating platform for immediate use. The motor you have chosen can then be installed with the controls for a remote system.,. Motor size can be from 9.9 – 25 hp depending on the currents and winds in your area. The hull for the Shanty is a displacement hull that should give great economy to operate.

The sun shade system shown can be made using pvc tubing for the frames with a sanpan cover arrangement. Fabric for the top can be poly tarp or purchased boat canvas.

Time to assemble the pre-welded basic boat platform should be about 30-40 hours.

$3,000 gives you the added components necessary to assemble the shanty’s house. These aluminum components include: the 4 front and back end frames, the 2 sliding door frames, panels for the roof assembly, and the side window spacers, plus flat panels for the lower front, back, and door frames. All components are pre-welded and ready to be bolted to your existing basic pontoon unit. The lower components for the house have previously been installed as part of the pontoon base. The roof cross frames are 2 x 6 wood purchased from your local home store.

If you wish to fully enclose the house for weather or insect protection, canvas with clear vynal windows can be fabricated and installed. However, you may want to install the sliding glass windows at this stage. If so, these items can be purchased from your home store. The enclosed head and shower use a basic porta pot unit with a plywood and fiberglass basin for shower water collection.

Time to assemble the shanty’s house should be around 30-40 hours.

The Final Assembly for your Shanty is the installation of the permanent windows, and fabrication of the interior. This can be as simple or elaborate as you want. The interior arrangement shown, has sleeping and eating space for a family of 4. . If your needs do not fit this layout, we can re-draw the interior to meet your needs. .

Time to install the windows and do the interior finish should be 40-50 hours for an owner with basic wood working skills. However, it can take 2-3 times as long if you keep stepping back to admire your work, or have friends or neighbors coming by to see how you are doing.


It’s fun to dream about living on the water , and enjoying the benefits offered to your life style and interests. Now, with the cost of housing, real estate taxes, and heating and cooling, it may be the right time to think about it in economic terms as well. A “have your cake, and eat it too” kind of moment.

After a suggestion from one of our prospective customers in Louisiana, and with his living on a Shanty idea in mind, we let our imagination run wild. ( a thing that happens a lot around here ) We’ve decided to design what we consider some “just right” boats for on, or near the water living. The Shantys are all affordable, and doable, for the average Joe, or in this case, Ted.

The Shantys shown could be built on a paycheck basis in increments over a period of time, without having to borrow a lot of money. Or, you could mortgage the ol homestead and make a no-lose damn good investment. (it’s always easier to convince your wife if you call your dream a, “no-lose damn good investment” ) .

The Shantys are designed to have 100% aluminum construction, including the floor and roof. They are also designed to be fully insulated for full time live aboard comfort and energy saving. The designs feature easy assembly by anyone with basic tool handling skills. All components are light weight, and will not require lifting equipment for final assembly.

The Shantys can be made with or without lofts. The loft will add a substantial amount of space for children, but the cost will be increased by about $2k if you include a loft.

We are showing the boats from 11 ft wide to 16 ft wide, but both the length and the width could be adjusted for your needs. They can all be built with a drop down front and back deck that can be raised during any transport. If you have a special floor plan you want, we can also do that for you. The floats for the shantys can be either aluminum hull tanks, or standard plastic foam enclosed dock floats. The floats chosen will be determined by the anticipated usage and cost..

You will not need an off-site construction location for assembly. The Shanty can be built in your back yard, in sections on top of a simple inexpensive transport trailer. Then, the sections are launched and bolted together in the water. The construction sections shown are from 8-10 ft for the 26 ft boat, and 10-12 ft for the larger boats. The transport trailer is a simple flat trailer 8 ft wide and 14-16 ft long, depending on the width of your shanty.

The Shantys can be designed to be used as a permanent home. With the excessively high cost of housing in many areas, you could easily save $12-14k yearly on rents paid, or for mortgage and interest payments on a land home. A question worth asking might be, “Should you spend $150-250k for a land home, and then pay thousands of dollars in taxes, interest, and insurance, or would you be smart to spend only $10-15k for a shanty home right on the water?” The mooring costs for the shanty should be less than the land home real estate taxes alone.

Another possible usage for the Shanty is a home on the shore, instead of in the water. In the event of a flood, the shanty will simply float up on its spud anchors, and then back down again when the water recedes.

The Shanty’s are a new line of boating products for our Company, and we are interested in establishing new Distributors throughout the country. If you are interested, or know of someone who may be interested, there is no investment required to become an UglyBoat shanty Distributor.

The bottom line is this; now may be the time to move to the water, and live the dream in your own Shanty home!


Placement of the Mini-Home either on shore near the water, or near the shore on the water, will give the owner a surprisingly spacious little home for full or part time living. Because the Mini Home is registered as a boat, it should not come under zoning laws that often restrict homes or house trailers in the flood plain. If there is a flood, your Mini Home will float up on its spud moorings until the water recedes

Most communities have small lakes or rivers where the Mini-Home can be moored. If the Mini-Home is moored at a local marina, the dock rent charged for mooring will usually be less than the taxes on an average house. Marinas with waiting lists can earn extra rents from these onshore moorings of the Mini-Homes.

Float platform construction uses a new float pod concept that allows bolt together construction without the need for welding. Floatation comes from foam filled pods that do not require waterproof integrity in the hull. A number of pods are assembled giving the unsinkable base unit on which the house is constructed. The 12’ x 25’ float base shown gives over 19k total floatation with a cost of around $3,500. This cost includes metal, foam, and ¾” plywood floor. Estimated cost of the completed Mini Pond Home is around $14-$16k.

The Mini-Pond Home is a new item but we can provide a no weld bolt together kit for those wanting to assemble the unit and move aboard. Imagine a house payment based on less than a $20k mortgage. Ah, Life is good. Plans cost $300. Contact Harold at

The Mini Pond Home with larger upper deck designed for Mamma’s comfort.

For transport on the road, or for long distance water navigation, the upper room structure is designed to fold down for a lower profile. To lower the structure, the side- walls fold inward on hinges. Folding the structure forward on the remaining end wall hinges with gas springs lowers the roof. Clearance is reduced to 12’-6” plus the bed of the transport trailer.

Lowering and raising the upper structure can be done from the inside without going onto the roof. Pushing the roof up and back on the attached aft wall hinges with gas springs can raise the roof structure. The side- walls can then be put up on the side -wall hinges and attached. Two persons can do lowering and raising the upper structure if the structure is made as designed with all aluminum materials.





Originally posted 2016-06-21 15:11:14.

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