Let’s face it, factory-built boat stands can be very expensive. Because of this, DIY solutions are becoming more and more popular.
Based on our research, the best DIY boat stand and cradle ideas are as follows:
- DIY wooden boat stand
- DIY metal boat stand
- DIY wooden boat cradle
- DIY metal boat cradle
- Small DIY boat dolly
If you want to drill into the details, keep reading.
We at PowerSportsGuide have compiled all you need to know under one roof!
5 Best DIY Boat Stand and Cradle Ideas
1. DIY Wooden Boat Stand Ideas
There’s no question that one of the most popular materials for constructing boat stands is lumber.
It’s easy to work with and relatively cheap, and it can often be found around the house.
There are two main types of DIY wooden boat stands. The simpler, more universal units are similar to metal triangle boat stands with plywood pads (a.k.a. poppets), which can be placed and aligned separately.
The other solution is to build a complete frame with four regular plywood pads or two supporting “braces.” The latter design offers greater safety and better support for the boat but it’s also harder to build.
When it comes to building these types of wooden boat stands, you should carefully shape the braces so they follow the outer line of the hull.
How can you copy the exact shape of the hull?
Best practice is to make a template using cardboard strips and some hot glue. This cardboard template will help you shape the supporting braces much easier.
If you don’t want to design your homemade boat stand from scratch, you can also find many plans for wooden boat stands online or in wooden boat magazines.
Here’s a simple example of a wooden boat stand:
2. DIY Metal Boat Stand Ideas
It’s safe to say that the most common boat stand design is metal triangles featuring plywood pads.
Used triangle boat stands are sold everywhere, so building one is usually not worth the hassle. You can find plenty of them for sale on Craigslist, Facebook, or even locally in boat yards.
But if you are determined to build one no matter what, you can build a sturdy DIY metal boat stand from steel profiles:
However, standard triangle-style stands can also be built from scrap materials:
If you don’t want to build it from scratch, you can also turn standard car jack stands or Acrow Props into DIY boat stands with a little modification:
3. DIY Wooden Boat Cradle
The main drawback of standard boat stands is that they don’t allow the boat to move.
This is where DIY boat cradles come into play.
In this video, a wooden boat cradle is built by using car dollies as a base (a very solid and cost-effective solution):
4. DIY Metal Boat Cradle
DIY boat cradles can also be built of metal, just make sure to use wooden bunks to avoid hull damage:
5. Small Wooden Boat Dolly
If you want to transport a smaller row boat or a dinghy to the water, you will only need a simple, 2-wheeled boat dolly.
It can be built of lumber, metal, PVC plumbing pipes, or a mix of materials. Just build the frame and add a pair of utility wheels to it.
It’s as easy as it sounds!
There are many ways to build a great DIY boat stand or cradle. A well-designed and carefully built unit can be as rigid and durable as its factory-built brothers.
In most cases, these structures are made of metal or wood, but smaller row boats can even be stored on PVC pipe stands.
What not to use as a boat stand?
Contrary to popular belief, using cinder blocks as a boat stand is definitely not recommended!
Since these blocks are not designed for point loads, they can get smashed under the weight of a boat.
Using stacked wooden blocks, vehicle tires, or Styrofoam blocks are not good ideas either.
These solutions can’t provide safe support for your boat, which can be dangerous in many ways. Boats are large, heavy, and expensive, so gambling with them is simply not worth the risk.
This is why you should build a solid DIY boat stand or invest in a high-quality factory unit!