Date: 22 November 2014. Glass-bottom Dinghy.
An online associate made reference to the
Cruising in Comfort
book by James Skoog recently. The boater asked about installing a viewing
port in his tender's hull. Skoog suggests when building a dinghy to make
one plank out of Lexan. Then you can see through the boat to what's
underwater. My buddy asked if that was true.
Side Note: I do not recall reading Cruising in Comfort
though I probably did at some point years ago. The link is added for your
convenience, and because I'm an Amazon Affiliate.
[Warning: I'm going to sound like a mealy-mouthed
In a word no, and yes. Algae does not
have one, yet.
After riding in a glass bottom
boat my Daddy and I thought a viewing panel would be a wonderful
addition to my dink. He used a piece of 1/2" thick Plexiglas
and thru-bolted it into the bottom of my old *Beetleroo. Liberal
use of epoxy meant it did not leak.
*Beetleroo was a dinghy
manufactured back in the 1940's and 50's. Mine was a beater -- used,
abused and enjoyed thoroughly.
The bolts also meant there was an
ever present danger of stubbing my big toe. You would think I
would learn however it became constant a source of irritation. I swear (quite
proficiently, albeit silently) more than once I rued the day I
wanted the doggone view.
The idea was that while underway (putt-putting along
as I had a 2-hp Seagull outboard back then) I could scan the ocean bed. I
would look for tasty things such as horse conch and likely spots
where fish could be caught.
|Horse Conch are
about 18" long.
and Yellowtail Snapper.
Side Note: The fish photos shown here are from
my Golden Guide called
Fishes. I recommend this one
because the pictures are lifelike. It is a pocket size and just
160 pages. Scanning through you will be able to identify that
fish you just brought up.
As long as I am spending your
perfectly good money, also buy the Golden Guide called
Fishing. I believe both are of value aboard cruising
boats. There are bigger/more complicated fishing books but I
prefer the shortened more concise information found in
Fishing. I do not want the extraneous so opted for the
They retail at less than
$10 each, and earlier versions offer the same content. Except,
well, the glue eventually starts to give way. Another of my
Seashells of North America
(the horse conch picture above) is from 1968 and for some
reason the glue isn't as spiffy as the
Fishes book dated
Seashells is a
larger format (taller, more pages) so perhaps that's the
reason why or the company used a different glue in 1968.
After 40-plus years...
well, you shall hear no complaints from me.
This book is well past good enough and bordering on
With my Plexiglas panel offering glimpses of the good stuff, I had visions of broiled snapper,
conch chowder and fritters. Or baked barracuda -- just
the small ones, three feet or less. *Barracuda has a scrumptious white filet and is
one of my favorites... and easy to catch. But I digress...
is known for a toxin called ciguatera. It is at least
sickening and at the worst, deadly. This toxin accumulates in the
fish so the bigger the fish the more likely the danger. Be careful.
To be safest, do not eat barracuda.
What I saw with the Plexiglas
however was a lot of bubbles. You see any forward movement and the
air bubbles completely obscure the view beneath the boat.
Now the glass panel does work well when you
stationary. There is nothing quite like watching a fish suck your bait
into its mouth and spit out a clean hook. At least you know to
re-bait the hook. After all, you have a hungry diner down there.
If you are particularly lucky, you can
catch the shrimp-stealing culprit and retrieve the bait. I toss
extra bait overboard for chum. I enjoyed the glass bottom in my old dinghy
but for me, this is not a front-burner project.
If you are stuck inside over the
winter adding a plexiglass panel to your dinghy might be something to consider.
Though the hoped for ability to scan the bottom while underway was
not to be, watching the marine life down deep is always fun in clear
If your water is murky a plexiglass panel will be essentially
useless. Clear water makes a big difference.
This is one of
those projects that seems like a good idea
at the onset, but the outcome did not live up to expectations.
A viewing panel such as mine does work if you're sitting
still. I would consider adding one to Algae, even though I know the whole
"glass-bottom" experience will not be perfect. It will however be good
And there's nothing like a freshly caught
dinner. Cap'n Dave has done well, eh?
Have you added a viewing port to your dinghy?
Do you use a Look-Bucket too? I made mine out of a Dollar Store bucket and
it's a gem.
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