Fast Skiff 17 - Study Plans
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FS17 console skiff

A versatile, easy to build and capable skiff.

LOA: 17' 5,20 m
Max. Beam: 7' 2,15 m
Hull Draft at DWL: 7"
17 cm
Hull weight (basic version): 315 lbs. 143 kg
Displacement at DWL: (PPI) 1,465 lbs (330 lbs) 665 kg
Recommended power: 25 to 50 HP 19 to 38 Kw

The design goal was a capable small skiff in the style of the Simmons Sea Skiff. The boat had to be economical and simple to build, in the spirit of our OD16 and OD18, with the same seagoing capability. The building procedure being identical to the FS12, FS14 and FS18.
Starting with a sketch posted by one of our forum users (thank you Chris Harris), we designed the FS17.
Our builders like to customize their boats and we kept that in mind during the design.

This is an easily driven hull with 25 degrees deadrise at the cutwater and almost none at the transom: 3.5 degrees. Enough vee to take a good chop offshore but sufficient beam at the chine for good stability. The hull depth is 26" in the middle, the bow is 37" high. The stern is very buoyant thanks to the high motor well bulkhead. This boat will not be swamped over the transom.

In all versions, the sole is well above the waterline and the cockpit is self draining. Note the high designed displacement: it places the waterline just below the cockpit sole at level trim. Most FS17 will never be loaded to that point and their draft will be less than the 7" listed.

During the design, our message board had some very active discussions about the Simmons Sea Skiffs and I couldn't help comparing them to our new design. We wanted at least the same offshore capability as the Simmons Sea Skiff and with the design complete, we can guarantee that our FS17 is a more able boat.

Compare FS17 and Simmons Sea Skiff 18

In the picture above, our FS17 is in bold lines, the other outline is the Simmons Sea Skiff 18.
The Simmons Sea Skiffs are named after the length of the longest plank, not the boat length. The Simmons Sea Skiff 18 is 17' 1" long and that includes long overhangs.
Looking at the a plan view of the bottoms,

Simmons Sea Skiff 18 compared to FS17 in plan

one can see that the Simmons Sea Skiff 18 is a much smaller boat.
In fact, the FS17 should be compared to the Simmons Sea Skiff 20 which is 19' 4" long, overhangs included:

Simmons Sea Skiff 20 compared to FS17 console skiff

Below the chine, the bottoms are almost identical. We do not show the plan view, the two boats are within 1" of each other.
The FS17 does not have the outboard tunnel cut out. This gives the FS17 more buoyancy. Besides the long overhang, the Simmons Sea Skiff is longer overall because of the raised freeboard.

Knowing that some builders were going to ask for it, we included that option in the FS17.
As designed, the FS17 has nice proportions with the right amount of freeboard but some builders may want to add a few more inches of freeboard. The plans show 3 options: the standard freeboard, a raised freeboard and low freeboard version for inshore flats fishing.

The FS17 offers great flexibility in layout. You can build her simple or sophisticated. Below are some layout examples.

FS17 console skiff open layout

The open layout is perfect to use as a work boat with tiller steering.

FS17 console skiff with benches

Another tiller steering version but with benches. Note the casting deck: make large or small, your choice. This version can be adapted to remote steering by adding a small side console on the mid bench.

FS17 console skiff

The console version. Note the high deck forward and the optional gunwales.

There is more: the sides can be raised an extra 6" if you want. Read about the options further down.

The monocoque structure produces a light but very strong hull. Unlike production boats, all parts are epoxy welded together and form a strong beam.

Fs17 monocoque structure

Several of the options were mentioned above. but a very important point is that you can combine features to customize your boat.
The building notes list which components are absolutely required like sole, motor well bulkhead and forward frame but also explains how all the options fit together. Here is a list of some of the options described in the plans and notes:

  • small forward deck
  • small or large casting deck
  • gunwale or rubrail or inwale with rubrail
  • side frames from plywood or 2x2 battens
  • open layout or benches or console
  • optional transom cut for 25" shaft (20" is standard)
  • Positive buoyancy: the FS17 can be made unsinkable by pouring foam under the cockpit sole.
  • raised sheer: the notes explain, with pictures (excerpt below) how to draw and cut a plywood panel to raise the freeboard by 6" or more.

FS17 raised sheer

Low sheer version:
For those who want to turn the FS17 in a small bay boat, we include drawings and dimensions for a low sheer version. See our tech. support forum for pictures of that version: larger casting deck, styled as a flats boat but with an offshore capable hull.

Building method:

The FS17 is built the same way as the FS12, FS14 and FS18. The hull is assembled upside on a very simple jig made from a pair of 2x6's.

FS17 console skiff buidling jig

We use the transom, the motor well bulkhead, some frames or molds and the stringers to support the plywood panels.
The bottom and sides have a very smooth curvature. There is no compounding: the panels will bend very easily.

The building notes are 28 pages long and include many pictures that we can not show here but here is an overview of the building procedure:

  • Cut frames (or molds), transom, stringers and hull panels.
  • Set up frames (molds) on a jig made of 2 by 6's
  • Plank hull around framing
  • Fiberglass outside
  • Flip the hull and remove framing
  • Fiberglass inside
  • Re-install internal framing and fiberglass to hull
  • Cut and install seat tops and deck
  • Paint and accessories

The notes cover every step of the building in details with many pictures and drawings.

Required Skills:

This boat could be build by a first time builder but some experience with epoxy and fiberglass will save labor and material.
See our HowTo files at bateau2 and in our gallery, builders pictures of the FS12, FS14 and FS18. This boat is built the same way.


The BOM is based on the basic version: open boat with sole, stringers, motor well bulkhead, small foredeck. Options will use more materials.
The plywood layout was calculated to minimize waste: we show the nesting of all parts on the plans.

Marine Plywood 4x8' (122x244cm)
1/4" (6mm) 6  
3/8" (9mm) 6  
Fiberglass (Totals)
Biaxial Tape 160 yards 150 m
Biaxial Fabric 50" wide 25 yards 23 m
Epoxy, total 9 gallons 27 kg

Not included: fillers, some small cleats (battens), paint.

Cost & Labor:
Cost and labor will depend very much on how simple you keep the boat. See our kits or supplies at
We estimate that you will need around 100 man-hours to assemble the hull and between 100 and 200 hours to finish the boat.

Visit our message board, help pages, tutorial pages and read our FAQ: most questions are answered there.

Plans Package List:

Detailed drawings with all dimensions required to cut all parts from flat plywood sheets: no lofting, no templates required. The plans include a complete lines drawings for those who choose a different assembly method or want to customize the design.

Drawings list:

  • B284_1 Plan and Profile
  • D284_2 Nesting
  • D284_3 Plywood panels
  • D284_4 Lines and Stations
  • D284_5 Construction
  • B284_6 Details
  • B284_7 Low sheer profile with frame locations
  • B284_8 Low sheer hull panels and nesting
  • B284_9 Low sheer framing
  • B219 Typical seat locker, hatch and openings
  • B221 Typical small boat electrical diagram
  • B187 Standard center console
  • Specific building notes for this boat
  • Bill Of Materials and fiberglass lamination schedule in the building notes
  • Help files reference list and more!

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7485 Commercial Circle,
Fort Pierce, Florida USA