Decking-When and when not to.

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Why would anyone want to use 2x4s in a boat to me is a joke. I have been building and refitting boats for over 30 years an have never used a 2x4 in anything and wont. If you need that much crap in a boat just get a bigger boat. Here in Fla. If your boat capsizes on any lake or waterway the Fish & wildlife or and the Coast Guard will by law have to do a report. If your boat is as ya'll call MODIFIED we call refit and it sinks or worst of all someone gets hurt. YOU ARE IN DEEP you know what. You will get the fine and probably go rite to jail. The fines are unreal.... thousands of dollars plus the accident WILL go on your drivers record as points. Your insurance will JUMP and if someone is hurt you will face some jail time. I am a Master seaman and it would go as a suspension on my masters license.
I would like to see the forum encourage anyone getting ready to MODIFY any boat check with their state Fish and Wildlife folk as to the laws that pertain to boat MODs. You may want to use the 2x4s on your porch in stead.( your wife will be happy )
On the other side if you don't like to stand on the bottom of your boat "too flimsy" to fish from lay a sheet of plywood in the bottom and stand on it. It will keep the weight low and you can float on it when you sink Tahee
Remember Skinny Boats are for Skinny water. That's why you don't stand up in a canoe unless ya wana get wet.
Food for thought now how do i put that disclaimer on the end?
LOVE dis forum


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1236 Alumacraft 15hp Yamaha 2 stroke. I added a aluminum deck and its very stable for me. I fly fish in small creeks, ponds, and rivers. Fun build and boat
About to buy a 16' flat bottom all welded jon. I want to put a deck on but not sure if its too narrow. I'm going to look at it this weekend. Here are some pics any input would be greatly appreciated. The guy says its 45" across the floor so I think it's fine however it seem to have pretty straight sides don't know how much difference that makes.


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Focobassslayer said:
About to buy a 16' flat bottom all welded jon. I want to put a deck on but not sure if its too narrow. I'm going to look at it this weekend. Here are some pics any input would be greatly appreciated. The guy says its 45" across the floor so I think it's fine however it seem to have pretty straight sides don't know how much difference that makes.

That is a good candidate for removable flat decks that are just plywood sheets that are tightly fit to set on top of the bracing. I wouldn't be putting in a raised deck because of the balance but a flat deck would add a lower center of gravity from the weight and still give you level ground to stand on.
It's not necessarily the straight sides its more the actual width of the boat and honestly Jon boats will never be overly stable regardless but low center of gravity helps

It's just like my 14' V-Hull Mirrocraft, if the weight is all up high even though its a really wide boat it's still unstable. I can't take my boat out without someone else anyways because of my back but when I do I always pack the weight low and even. They will be more stable with more weight to a certain point.
this is my 1436,i put the deck at the top of bench seat,dont want to go any higher,it worked good on the test run
I have had the pleasure of fishing out of a grossly overdecked narrow jonboat. A friend had decked the entire hull on a 12/36 w heavy plywood, flush w the top and added tall pedistal seats too. This boat was dangerously overloaded and unstable but very "exciting" to fish tandem. Powered by a rear trolling motor the boat would lean to the outside in a turn and could be capsized just by turning to hard/fast! While fishing, any sudden movement like casting hard or setting a hook any direction but bow/stern would cause the boat to tip ALOT and we had great fun tipping the boat on purpose to "enhance" or "help" each others fishing technique and never a dull moment. There was alot of cursing and laughing all day and we did catch some fish aboard the floating log. He came to his senses and removed the deck after 2 summers.
The great thing about this site is that it is a "melting pot" of information provided by folks who have "been there and done that" as far an information pertaining to "tin boats".

I recently became a "first time" owner of a jon boat. Its a G3 1436, and I have already mildly modified it to better suit my needs. Being that it is only 36", I will not deck it. I have, however, installed flooring, which keeps me off the ribs, makes standing (with care) doable and more comfortable, and quiets my movements down. I filled in the spaces between the ribs with closed-cell "blue" insulation. I used 1/2" plywood coated with marine varnish on both sides, then covered with indoor/outdoor carpet both stapled and adhered with contact cement. Here are several photos.

First, I did secure the front flooring using angle brackets to ensure it didn't come flying out while trailering down the highway.


The rear flooring is friction fit and isn't going anywhere, especially with gear loaded on top.


Thats enough for me on this boat. The lower the weight on a light, narrow jon like this, the better.

Thanks for the info. I have been trying to figure out this decking situation for a few days. Being a big guy I decided against a deck to the top of my 1436. I am going to make one that is lower just to have an even space to stand on.
I appreciate all the info everyone shares....
Hopefully this adds something to the conversation...

I have a 14.5' aluminum semi-v with a 64" beam. I like to river fish and ocean fish so I need stability and safety when on the water. I put my deck quite low (much lower than most of the mods I have seen here) so if a wave or something comes up while I am standing, I don't get tossed right overboard. I would have like a bit more floor/storage space but I had a crappy 2x4 and plywood floor in the boat before that was removable and slightly lower (3-4) than it is now and the stability was decent. Anyway, if you run bigger or faster moving water I would keep the gunwale above knee height while standing at the lowest point. I have higher decks in the bow and stern for when I am anchored out but where I will stand while driving on the tiller, I am as low as possible.

pics of my framing:


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Guaranteed - after reading all these responses - you have confirmed that my 1436 is NOT a good candidate for decking. I'll probably just put a 1/2" floor in it with foam under between the ribs. I'll likely also put some plywood screwed into the top of the rear and middle seats so help with adding seats. Not sure if I'll do bases and seat mounts or just bolt the swiviel right to the plywood for strength.

Definitely trying to keep the center of gravity low.

Great post - I enjoyed it all!
To illistrate the stability difference between a flat bottomed and v type hulls, simply lay them side by side on the ground, take a board and lay on the ground at normal water level, then look at them from the rear as someone lifts one side. you will easily see that a flat bottomed jon very quickly loses bouyancy simply because it loses its displacement ( which is what makes all boats float) very fast, while a v type hull can like some canoes gain bouyancy. the wider hull on a boat simply makes it harder to turn over because theres more weight your trying to lift on the off side. BUT!! ANY jon or flat bottomed boat ,or any boat for that matter that has hard chines is more likely to turn completly over than a soft chined boat in all cases. A deep v type boat is more stable for most of us simply because it has more reserve bouancy. While a jon type boat has very good initial bouancy,it loses it very fast as it tips. Flat bottomed boats were designed primarily for shallow protected waters,and to carry a lot of secured weight that was not prone to shift and they excell at that. But if you fish or cruise large lakes where the wind and waves can change suddenly its best to use a utility type ,or deep v hull for your projects. A deep v hull can stand to be broached to by waves when a jon would simply tilt over and slip under the water. A good example of this is a sailboat running heelled over with its gunwales wet. It simply has the reserve bouyancy and the hull design. The main thing to remember though you dont HAVE to turn a boat over to be thrown out. I lost two guys years ago out of my old narrow ouichita bass boat in dead calm water simply because one leaned over the side to get a minnow out of a bucket and the other did a power set on a bass at the same time.The solution of course is to have several boats!!!!LOL my pond hopper /river boat is a beat up old narrow jon boat,while my lake or large water boats are all v-types. Hope this helps someone looking for a boat to mod. keep in mind also when looking at v-hulls theres utility type boats ,and a deep v type hulls. Most small v-hulls of the utility type ,will be wide beamed and flat or nearly flat bottomed to haul primarily weight,and will be a fairly slow hull even with its rated hp engine. (SOME called displacement hulls wont plane out no matter what size engine you put on them!). a deep v type hull will be the faster hull of the two and will be better if you run long distances or are lightly loaded. Personaly i prefer the utility types and give up some speed for more initial stability/capacity. Another thing to consider that becoming more and more common is for lake regulations to say how deep a boat must be. On one lake i fish a lot its 15" depth measured at the widest point in the boat. I guess lawyers dont fish much,,,
I decked my 1436 and am very glad I did , it took a little getting use to maybe 2 trips and now I can maneuver great on it I would prefer to be on the deck than on the floor . here are some pics1436-2.jpgjj1.jpgme.jpgme2.jpg
I completly agree my 1636 delhi has just the front decked and I can run all over the boat myself but when its me and another person we tend to sit down
why ?
decking a boat .. whats wrong with leaving it as it is ?
i don't see the advantages.. maybe a little more room ... but ?
i don't know.
as big as i am . over six foot and pushing 280#.. i don't want to get on top of anything.
I am curious as to what boat length does to the equation. Say for instance, 12ft, 14ft, and 16ft foot boats all the same configuration other than length. Is the 14ft more stable than the 12 because of more hull area in the water?
I think once you're 12' or longer it's the width that contributes to the stability. If I decked my v-hull 12' sea nymph it would have been set lower than I was able to do with the flat bottomed 1436. The 1436 is decked - though I kept the decking to the same height as the existing middle and rear seats and it's perfectly fine to stand on.
I added a deck to my Starcraft 14SF, before adding the flat deck, which runs just below the bench seats and sits on both sides just inside the roll that forms the outer spray rail. Before adding the deck the boat was tippy, stepping to one side would roll the boat drastically, now with the deck in place, I can step to the very edge of the deck and it barely seems to affect the boat. Its easier to load and distribute weight now too since items stay put rather than migrating to the lowest point. I think some of it is in how weight is being distributed, and some is due to the added weight, which was about 70 lbs total.

For most of the boat, the deck is only 3 or 4 inches off the bottom but near the front, there's about 10" of space below the deck, which I use for storage now. All in all it made it feel like a much bigger boat.
The bench seats were put back in after the floor was fully installed. I coated all wood with gray epoxy resin with some non slip grit.


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