What is the PT Skiff?

PT Watercraft’s PT Skiff kit; fuel efficient, functional, modern, & attractive.

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© PT Watercraft 2013


PT Watercraft offers kits for new and unique boat designs that are efficient, functional, modern & attractive.

Our focus is on creating boats that answer the needs of serious cruisers, weekend camp cruisers and environmentally conscious boaters, sail and motor. Featuring: the fuel efficient 18.5ft center console , PT Skiff, Russell Brown’s modern performance nesting dinghy series, carbon marine hardware, water tight hatch kits, hatch toggles or ‘turn dogs’, adjustable wind shields, dinghy rigs, sails, dinghy foil kits, original PTW stainless steel connective hardware, stitch & glue and epoxy instructional books, etc...

R&D by Russell J. Brown with various design collaborations with Paul Bieker and Eric Jolley of Bieker Boats, Jim Franken of Franken Design, Brandon Davis of Turn Point Design, Paul Zeusche of Townsend Bay Marine, Sean Rankins of NW Sails. Special thanks to our honorary consultants, John Marples, Dick Newick, Jim Brown, Brian Clark, Tom George, Sandy Goodall, John Harris, Alex Spear, Tim Nolan, Meade Gougeon, Ted Pike, Chris Grace. Wood for our kits comes from Edensaw in Port Townsend, WA. Our preferred epoxy is WEST SYTEM  from Gougeon Brothers. Publicity thanks to Wooden Boat, Professional Boat Builder, Small Craft Advisor, Epoxy Works, and our customers!..+

The PT skiff is a very fuel efficient center console runabout that is good looking, has good handling, can carry a load, and is incredibly quick with only 20 horsepower.

This design comes from the office of Bieker Boats, a design firm with a long history of success with many kinds of boats.

Click photos to see larger images. ©PT WATERCRAFT

What’s so great about this boat?  

It does what it does with very little horsepower. It goes about 22 knots lightly loaded and does over 16 knots with four people and gear and it feels like a rocket with only 20 horsepower.

Click photos to see larger images. ©PT WATERCRAFT

It handles rough water very well compared to wider, flatter skiffs.

The hull shape of the PT skiff was studied with the most advanced design tools seeking all around utility with maximum fuel efficiency while being able to perform well under various speeds, loads and conditions. 

The hull is fairly narrow, which allows for its uncommon efficiency as well as a more comfortable ride in rough weather.  

Click photos to see larger images.

Image: Bieker Boats

Click photos to see larger images.

Water Ballast tank highlighted in magenta.

Image: Bieker Boats

Water ballast is a feature of this boat. It adds stability when at the dock, and makes the boat ride better in rough weather.

The tank is part of the structure of the boat, and it fills and drains automatically.

Ballast can be either kept in, or kept out by locking the air vent valve located near the steering wheel.

Click photos to see larger images. image  of modified skiff with side decks by Eric Jolley

Click photos to see larger images. ©PT WATERCRAFT

Other design features help this boat travel comfortably through rough water: High freeboard, side decks and lots of flare in the topsides.

If you are familiar with planing skiffs, you will see something unusual in the “performance” video on this website, Ashlyn riding quite comfortably and dry in the front end of the boat, while going fast in rough water.

The deep forward cockpit is comfortable and feels secure.

Click photos to see larger images. ©PT WATERCRAFT

Photo by J. Brandt

The PT Skiff is built from plywood and epoxy, our favorite boatbuilding materials.

Favorite why?  Four main reasons:  Weight, longevity, ease of construction, and minimal cost and waste.

One would have to use materials such as carbon fiber and honeycomb to produce a boat that weighed less, and these materials would only beat wood / epoxy in one of the four factors mentioned above.

Boatbuilding with wood and epoxy is not hard, but it is a science, and to build a lightweight boat that is both strong and long lasting, one must understand the materials.   This is why our manual is as much about the technology as it is about building the boat.

Is this boat simple to build?  Not really, but the result is very advanced, and anyone with general hand tool knowledge can build one provided they can carefully read the very detailed manual.

Click photos to see larger images. ©PT WATERCRAFT

The kit is cut from 12 sheets of LLoyds approved BS 1088 Okoume plywood. There are 120+ separate pieces from plywood in this boat, but they go together quickly and fit perfectly.

Longer pieces are joined with puzzle joints, and all the frames (10 of them) are located with tongues that fit into slots in the hull, so there’s almost no measuring.

Click photos to see larger images.


Click photos to see larger images. ©PT WATERCRAFT

There are many  separate pieces of wood included in the kit as well.  Most of these are gluing cleats (inside corner reinforcement), all are cut to size and length.

All solid wood is tight grain, air dried Douglas Fir.

The manual for the PT skiff is a photograph and text manual, and is as thorough as the design and kit are. To produce the manual we built 2 boats. The manual is available for purchase individually.

There are no plans available for the PT Skiff. It uses a minimal building jig and thus the need for extreme accuracy made possible with CNC technology.

While the PT Skiff was not designed to be truly self bailing, there is a relatively simple option which will allow it to self bail at speed and drain while on the trailer.

Because of small design and construction changes we built the second skiff. < Please see the explanation HERE.> or visit our BLOG and see the construction photos.

PLEASE VISIT the PT Skiff page for Prices, Options, additional details.

Click photos to see larger images. ©PT WATERCRAFT

Click photos to see larger images. Photo by J. Brandt

Kit and purchasing infobuy_a_PT_Skiff.html
Specifications &
Technical infoPTSkiff_technical.html

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Hatches & HardwareHatches_and_Hardware.html
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PT SKIFFPT_Skiff.html

PT SKIFF primary links: Description - Kit infoTechnical info - PricesBuilder Center

PT SKIFF primary links: Description - Kit infoTechnical info - PricesBuilder Center

NOTICE: As of September 2018, the PT Skiff production is under review and is currently in the hands of the designers. Thank you!