The Openboat Project

This is a very quick and cost effective way of making small recreational boats using Plastazote, a closed cell foam.
For more information about where to obtain Plastazote, contact


This is an Open Source project; the information is freely available with the aim that many people will develop variations on the same idea and contribute them to this website..

The need for this type of boat is mainly in resource-poor countries where rowing and canoeing are being developed as new sports - and cost is a serious limitation. However it is also the case that rowing and canoe clubs in Europe and North America might be interested in providing boats that will widen access to their sport at a reduced cost.

For more information about Plastazote, go to:

Also individuals and families can have the satisfaction of making their own boats.

The project may also be of interest to youth groups to promote both sport and enterprise.

The basic boat hull is made from one piece of Plastazote closed cell foam 4000mm x 1000mm x 50mm and four strips of softwood 4000mm x 50mm x 12mm. The joints at the ends are welded with a hot air (paint stripper) gun.  The cost, buying the materials in small quantities is around £120. Plastazote is used in the container packing industry to protect sensitive equipment - so it might be possible to find a source to recycle into a boat. Smaller pieces are easily welded together to make a larger sheet.

This size of Plastazote sheet provides a buoyancy of around 200 kilogrammes (if fully immersed in water). 

Plastazote is very tough and should prove more durable than GRP (fibreglass). However it can be cut by sharp edges - such a stones in shallow water - but simply cut the damaged area out and weld in a new piece. The welds are as strong as the continuous sheet.

Click on the links below to watch the instructional videos.

YouTube Video

YouTube Video

This version has been produced from a concrete mould - see page 4.
Six Plastazote rowing boats made during a workshop in St Vincent and the Grenadines. See page 3.