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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 don't 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 politician.]
In a word no, and yes. Algae doesn't have one, yet.


After riding in a glass bottom tour 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'd think I'd learn but 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.

Fishing Fantasies


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.
Red, Mangrove 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's a pocket size and just 160 pages. Scanning through you'll be able to identify that fish you just brought up.

As long as I'm 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 don't want the extraneous so opted for the Golden Guides.

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 GG's, 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 1955. 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'll hear no complaints from me.
This book is well past good enough and bordering on spectacular!


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...

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 it does work well when you're just fishing. There's nothing like watching a fish suck your bait into it's mouth and spit out a clean hook. At least you know to re-bait the hook. After all, you've got a hungry diner down there.

If you're lucky enough, you can catch the shrimp-stealing culprit. Retrieve the bait, but I'd toss it overboard for chum. I enjoyed the glass bottom in my old dinghy but for me, this is not a front-burner project.

If you're stuck inside over the winter perhaps it might be something to consider.

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 won't be perfect. It will however be good enough.

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.


Categories: Boat Talk, Books, Characters, Fishing, Gear, Recommendations

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