About Barrie Custom Boats

Barrie Custom Boats is a new operation, established in 2019. The principal builder is Bill
Scott, who built his first boat in 1952, at age of 12. This was a small rowboat, intended only to provide enough building experience to allow undertaking of more complicated boats. He was infected with racing outboard fever, and built his own boats to support the habit throughout his high school years. Racing was mainly at Community Day celebrations along the North Channel of the St. Mary’s River, and prizes were small amounts of money, barely sufficient to support the operation, but certainly sufficient to feed the addiction.

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On entering university and taking up geophysics, he found it no longer possible to race, in that the geoscience world is particularly far away from recreational boating.

He did, however, manage to spend some time in shallow-water marine surveying, thus keeping a connection with the marine world. He led development of a portable survey system offering several geophysical measurements in a single system. The vessel was
known as The Electrik Ark. It was designed to come apart, to travel in a single load in a Twin Otter. The cabin was hinged so that it folded flat for transport, and the Zodiac
deflated and rolled up into a bundle.

(Pictured: The Electrik Ark on survey in a northern Ontario lake.)

However, when children came along, it was obviously necessary to provide them with a
introduction to the marine life, and he built for them, and with them, a small boat (always
known as The Little Red Boat) to let them explore the water. In this boat all three learned first to row and then to use a small outboard. Built in 1972, and fully restored in 2019, the boat is now helping another generation learn the same lessons.

(Pictured: The Little Red Boat, ca 1993.)

Upon retirement, Bill has been able to indulge again in his love of building wooden boats. He operates from a custom-built workshop in Barrie, and builds cedar-strip rowboats to order. His first rowboat was launched in the fall of 2019, and others are available for sale. In addition to building new rowboats, Barrie Custom Boats has also
undertaken restoration and refinishing of old boats. Projects range from simply stripping and refinishing to major surgery and replacement of rotten wood.

(Pictured: Bill Scott with Grace’s proud new owner.)

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