Casting decks on aluminum boats are a frequent DIY project since they are useful for a better fishing experience. You’ll be surprised at how much having one on board can affect your trip. With this guide, you will learn how to build a casting deck in an aluminum boat.
If this is your first casting platform project, it is best to keep things simple. We’ll make use of a basic build, but you can use these step-by-step instructions even with more complex designs.
Keep reading to learn more.
Table of Contents
What You’ll Need
- Wooden studs
- Impact driver or hammer
- Screws or nails
- Tung oil
- Staple gun
- Wood glue (optional)
- Measurement tool and pencil
How to Build a DIY Casting Deck
The aluminum boat casting deck we’ll be making is a removable one that will be resting on the front seat. Its frame will fit into the space between the front seat and the bow where it will help keep the assembled deck in place.
Since these are general steps for assembly, they can help with a V bottom boat casting deck as well.
Step 1: Build preparations
The first step is to plan your aluminum boat deck build and prepare the necessary materials. Go through several casting deck plans if you can to consider different ideas and come up with what functionality you’d like to get.
For the deck, we’ll use a 12mm-thick plywood that needs to cover the dimensions of the front half of your boat.
You’ll also need wooden studs for the frame, at least 4 pieces measuring 70 by 28 mm but you may need more depending on the size of your boat and the design you’ll be using.
Step 2: Measure and cut the shape
Measure the area of the boat where you plan to place the deck. The measurement needs to be exact since the edges of the deck will rest on the sides of the boat interior to keep it in place.
The bottom section of the deck will rest on the front seat of the vessel so measure up to this point. Mark the shape on your plywood surface.
Then, cut the wood to get the exact shape needed, using a jigsaw will make the process much easier. If your plan requires cutting in the middle of the plywood, the jigsaw will become a necessity so plan accordingly. Drill a hole in the middle where the saw blade can fit to cut in the middle.
Check to see that the deck piece fits well into the space in your boat. Sand down the sides once you’re happy with the fit. It’s also a good idea to account for the thickness of the carpet when cutting the wood into shape.
Step 3: Assemble the frame
Start with measuring two studs that will run horizontally in the space for the deck and measure each one against their allocated position. One will be near the bow while the other will be situated in front of the seat.
After determining the placements for the horizontal pieces, measure the space between them for the vertical pieces, you will need at least two. Cut the pieces to size once all measurements have been taken.
Assemble the frame so that you will end up with a T shape. You can use nails or screws to fasten the wood pieces together; using an impact driver will make the job faster and easier.
You can put additional studs in the middle and the side to further strengthen support or if your chosen plan indicates necessary additions.
Step 4: Put the deck and frame together
Place the frame on the deck and mark the position of the wood; this will help you identify where to fasten using nails or screws. Place the frame under the deck and insert the screw from above the deck. You can make use of glue to hold them together before using screws or nails.
Make sure that the deck board is firmly attached to the frame, this will ensure that it can provide reliable support. Once they have been fixed together, place the assembled deck into the boat one more time to check its fit.
Don’t skip checking on the homemade casting platform’s fit with the boat. You do not want to neglect this step only to find out that the fit messed up somewhere along the way.
Step 5: Finishing touch and carpet
Bare wood will not survive long as an aluminum boat casting deck material in a marine environment. Even if it doesn’t get wet the moisture will still affect it; using some sort of sealant such as tung oil can help.
Brush the oil onto the entire wood surface and let it dry. Two layers should be enough.
Lay down the carpet and place the top side of the deck onto it. Then, cut the carpet into shape leaving at least 1.5 inches (around 4cm) extra for the flap to fasten it. Once the carpet is cut, fold the flap over and make it snug then staple it in place.
You can use both glue and staples to hold the carpet down for better security. Cover the entire deck surface and make sure that the carpet is secure.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a casting deck on boats?
The casting deck is a platform on the boat usually on the front section near the bow; it is used primarily as a foothold or support surface for fishing. This is useful not only for casting a line but also for allowing you to properly survey the surroundings by providing an unobstructed view.
A more complex Jon boat casting deck may have storage space underneath or even a live well. It may also support an additional bench that is more elevated whether on a fiberglass boat or aluminum vessel.
What materials are used to make a casting deck?
You can choose between different materials for a DIY casting platform. Aluminum would be a great choice for a lightweight casting deck but using it requires technical skills.
Wood is a good compromise between durability and ease of use although some treatment will be necessary to give it some resistance against moisture. It may not be as sturdy as an aluminum casting deck frame but you’ll find that it is still reliable.
How do you measure a casting deck for an aluminum boat?
The easiest way is to use a large piece of cardboard to make a mold of the shape for the deck.
- Place the cardboard against the space and cut away until you get the proper fit.
- Once you have the shape right, bring the cardboard cutout to your plywood.
- Place the cardboard on top of the plywood and trace the shape on the wooden surface.
- Cut along the marker to get the needed shape and proceed with step 2 above.
Now you know how to build a casting deck in an aluminum boat. After gaining some experience, you can try out more advanced builds that have more features. You could even go for other types of materials such as aluminum but keep your goals grounded for now.
Have you tried building a casting deck before? Tell us about your DIY projects including your time building this one in the comments section below.
Remember to boat safely.
“My intention from the first day establishing Boating Basics Online is to provide as much help as possible for boaters who want to experience a first safe and convenient trip. So feel free to join us and share your beautiful journeys to the sea!”