To get a good boat, you must first start with a good design. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the collection of designs available is immense.

In years gone by, choosing a boat design to build was limited to what you could get your hands on through local boat yards or designers. With the Internet, the whole world plus a huge archive of older designs is now at your finger tips.

No longer do you have to spend $20 to see small plans so you could decide if it was what you truly wanted to build. These days, a few hours on the Net, and you have probably more information than you need. As a matter of fact, you could end up with information overload.

My best advice is first, decide on the basic concept. Do you want a small day sailer, ocean going mono hull, live aboard catamaran or car topper. Is your family truly interested in going boating with you, or are you just assuming? Ask yourself a lot of questions first.

My first boat was a 6ft dinghy I built while still at school. This was built out of cedar so it was really light, and I could pull it behind my bicycle on its own trailer. This was used for a number of years on the river near my home.

My last boat was a 31 ft ocean going yacht. I had this moored over 100 miles from my home. In retrospect, I got far more use and more fun from my 6 ft dinghy. This backs up my thoughts at the start. Do some serious thinking before making your choice of what to build.

Remember, all you need is some basic woodworking tools, some experience and some patience. The building of your own boat is a challenge, but if you meet it, the reward is the deep satisfaction of a self-made life afloat.