1982 Aeromarine Restoration

David K

Recently purchased this 1982 Aeromarine from the original owner. The boat has not been hunted in several years and he said that one of his friends did modifications to the cockpit. Luckily it came with a title and registration for both the boat and trailer. Trailer lights even worked when I picked it up! I have just started work on it and would love input from this board.

Most of the hardware had seen better days, so I stripped it all off of the boat, including the makeshift flapper boards, and gave the topside a good sanding.

I removed the inspection ports for the bow and stern and found both to be foam filled with the foam in good condition. Thinking about installing plastic inspection hatches over these.

The wood lattice/floor was pretty heavy and rotten, so I chucked that. Will have to figure out an alternative.

Started opening the cockpit back up to its original form. Taking my time doing it and encountering some rusted and some stainless screws along the way.

Purchased Parker duck boat primer and paint for the top side and gator glide for the bottom.

Boat came with a Mercury 2 stroke 15 hp that should move it well.

My work bench is a disaster... time to clean it off and get to work.

Davi, I had an aero marine sneakbox, great boat. I purchased it from a duckboats member. Some where in the old for sale section of this site are photos of the complete rebuild of this boat. Good luck with your sneakbox.BD3D33B5-915F-4DE5-A851-7116BC5EDD7D.jpeg727800FB-5A6C-4E8B-9391-0CE2CFF5A69C.jpeg

I think I know that boat we were at the same marina 10 years ago.

I was impressed with how he closed the cockpit.
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The boat was purchased in Oceanside. The owner said that his friend had modified the cockpit and that it was originally a two man boat. I think it will be great for the dog and I.

What paints are preferred for the cockpit interior?
I like oil base in a grey for the cockpit. Then the duckboat color for the floor boards.

FYI I have the old style one man and the newer 2 man boat That Tom Pryer built...
Aero boat yard made a nice duckboat.
The mold for that boat was made from a Jersey sneakbox from the late 1800/early1900. Then modified to take an outboard.

Great vessel - and fine workmanship all around. I never owned a Pryor boat - and regret that I never met Tom himself. His workmanship was first class.

Regarding new floorboards. I have made a bunch over the years. The slats are traditional. They shed water nicely - just make sure the spaces are narrower than your shotgun shells.

CHARLIE HORAL - Interior with Floorboards and Rest.jpg

Clear Pine is a good choice. Half-inch thick is nice if you can find it - or plane it - but 3/4" is fine, too.

The frames (aka "cleats") must be scribed to the hull contours.


As this was a wooden vessel - traditionally planked, I notched each frame for the keel.


Planes fine-tuned each frame - and also eased the edges on each slat along with a sanding block.


The central ("king") plank check that the elevations of the frame tops are true. It gets fastened first.

FB 14.jpg

I used a batten to lay out a fair curve.


This is the underside of a plywood set I made for a Sunfish conversion.

Floorboards - underside.jpg

Here is the finished slat set. The central plank is longer only because of the lengths I had on hand. I think it adds an Art Deco touch - in keeping with the 1920s vintage of the vessel.

TD Floorboards painted.JPG

BTW: I happen to be in the middle of making a set of plywood floorboards for a South Bay Duckboat right now. This shows anti-skid, 'curbs" up forward to keep loose get in place, and a scupper hole for bailing. The oblong slots are for the turnbuttons (see below).

FB 04 - Floorboards with non-skid.JPG

I make them removable - but held in place with wooden (Black Locust) turn buttons - so they can be removed without tools.

F sm FB 24.JPG

Hope this helps!

Thanks for the informative reply, Steve. I love the look of that wood slat floor. Will get to that soon I hope.

Here is an update as I have been working on this somewhat sporadically. I recently stripped the caulk around the rub rail and applied a solid bead of 3M 5200. That should keep water out for years to come.

One night, I convinced myself to flip the boat over and inspect the hull bottom. The boat is surprisingly light and I really love that it is all fiberglass. Next I knew, I was sanding the bottom. 5 coats of Gatorbase were applied followed by a 3 day cure time. The bottom was then lightly sanded, cleaned with acetone and 5 coats of Gatorglide were applied. The Gatorbase/Gatorglide combo is probably overkill, but what's done is done. I flipped the boat back over after a few days cure and I'm happy to have the bottom sealed for hopefully several years.

The next step is to remove the rest of the old rusty screws on the top side, seal the holes, and sand. I also have to fair out the cockpit opening as it's looking pretty rough. Once everything is faired and sanded, I'll paint the topside and then its time for hardware.

I pulled out the brass drain tube that was past it's prime. I'm thinking about replacing it with a composite drain tube. The foam in the forward and aft compartments is dry even after having the boat upside down for two weeks. I'm thinking about installing 4" deck plates so that I can "air the foam out" in the future. That is unless anyone suggests otherwise.

Thank you to those have responded. Although I have worked on boats my entire life, this is my first duck boat and I'm learning more and more.

Good morning, David~

Excellent work!

I have heard that Tom vacuum-bagged the 'glass - a technique he learned from his experience with airplanes - hence the "Aeromarine". It's the best way to get light and strong - as I understand it.

All the best,


Filled all the holes from old hardware with west systems six-ten thickened epoxy.
Used a vinylester marine filler to fair out some imperfections in the shape.
Over-drilled the hole for the transom drain, filled with marine tex epoxy with micro balloons added as filled, then put a layer of glass on each side. Re-drilled a 1" hole for the drain and installed the new brass drain tube.
Installed a garboard drain inside the cockpit.
Glassed in the bow and stern bulkheads.
Fresh 5200 seal on the rub rail inside and out.
Just primed the whole hull after a thorough cleaning.

Thank you for all of the help.

She is looking spiffy and I can tell you are taking the time to do the restoration right. Keep up the good work.

Good morning, David~

Wonderful work! As Eric noted, you are clearly taking the time to do everything right - the ONLY way to approach any project, in my view.

I noted your re-setting the transom drain. I just did the same thing on my most recent South Bay Duckboat restoration.

Transom Drain 01 - second hole lower.JPG

I drilled both holes. The first was drilled on-site - to drain the hull as she sat. South Bays never had transom drains as far as I know.
Transom Drain 03 - hole filled.JPG

Once I had the vessel in my shop and could crawl under the stern deck, I decided to install the drain almost flush with the bottom of the hull from inside.

Transom Drain 04 - fresh paint.JPG

Here she is with the new motor board mounted as well. The new drain plug is tethered to the motor board with decoy line.

Transom Drain 06 - new tube bedded and installed.JPG

Here's the whole vessel - delivered last weekend to its owner.

Portrait 2.JPG

Keep up the exceptional work!



The brass tube I installed is for the motor well to drain. If I was to do a cockpit drain through the transom, the tube would have to be about 2 feet long to get from the stern bulkhead, through the foam, and then through the transom. Bill Ferrar invited me to take a look at his fleet. I took his advice and installed a garboard drain at the aft end of the cockpit. This will allow me to rinse out and drain the cockpit when the boat is on the trailer. I didn't take a close up of mine installed, but the drain looks like this:

I am debating whether or not to do some sort of flapper boards for this boat. One thought is to just do grass rails and no boards. The other is to do the traditional sneak box style only at the stern, which seem more for holding decoys than for hiding.

I am going to work on setting up the grass rails and getting my hardware together.

What is everyone's opinion on cleat material and locations? Stainless, Composite, or Galvanized?