My love for flat bottomed boats all started about 30 years ago with the acquisition of a cheap, and small, used Jon boat that I bought for local river use.
I put that little boat through some very tough times and, unfortunately, learned the hard way that small Jon boats and rough water don’t really mix that well.
After some fun days on the river, and some wet ones in the river, I eventually purchased a larger 18 ft Jon boat that was a lot more stable in challenging conditions and a lot more fun to drive because I was able to put a much bigger motor on it.
My Name is Mick McGrath, and being a townie I didn’t grow up messing around on the water. Even though I have went through several Jons over the years, I didn’t know what a Jon boat was or what is was used for until I reached the States. You see, I am originally from Ireland and grew up in Belfast during the worst years of ‘The Troubles‘ when opportunities to indulge in water activities was limited to the wealthy and commercial fishermen.
Although Ireland has a long fishing tradition, and many Irish people love sailing, boating and water sports, most townies like me were not in a position to take to the water 30 years ago unless they were very fortunate or rich. Of course that all changed for me in America.
I should point out that my love for flat bottom boats especially was born in the US and this love has continued to grow over the years.
Now, most people know that flat bottom boats and rough waters do not play well together. Even though I have sometimes taken a Jon boat into the ocean it has only ever been under the strictest of rules and conditions and I’ve only ever did it off the coast of the American continent in calm waters, Jon boats are designed for inland waterway use on calms waters.
As Ireland and rough water go hand-in-hand, even on inland lakes and rivers, it should come as no surprise that flat bottom boats in Ireland are few and far between. The type of calm rivers that would suit flat bottom boats are usually too narrow and also offer only seasonal usage.
The Irish weather is not a good match for flat bottom boats. However, although it is extremely rare to see a Jon boat, flat bottom skiff or other popular flat bottom boats in Irish waters (no-one in Ireland has even heard of a Drift boat), you may very occasionally see a raft but are more likely to see a dory off the coast. And, although you will never see a canoe in Irish waters, kayaks are very common especially in canals, rivers and also in the ocean.
So, although I had been on boats in Ireland (it is surrounded by water after all) they tend to be v-hull or semi-v hull vessels. It wasn’t until I left Irish soil that I had the opportunity to take to the water in a flat bottom boat.
It was the introduction to some of those smooth calm rivers and lakes of the United States that gave the opportunity to fall in love with the humble (and sometimes not so humble) flat bottom boat and I will be forever thankful to the States for that.
Below is a picture of me and some friends about to tackle the waters of South America on a large flat bottom skiff during a 2 week vacation.
So why did I start this website and what do I have to offer its readers?
Why this website exists
I created this website to answer some of the many questions that new flat-bottom-boat owners, and occasionally seasoned flat-bottom boaters, ask but find it difficult to find an answer for.
The Internet and World Wide Web may be a revolution in sharing information but it is still relatively new. Even with 30 years experience under my belt I occasionally still need to search online for information related to flat bottom boats (none of us know everything). The first time I did this I was dismayed to discover that no information on my particular boating question was available.
I thought this lack of info may just have been an anomaly until it happened again. The second time it happened, albeit about 1 year later, I wondered if there was a serious lack of information out there on my specific passion – flat bottom boats.
I started to ask around, especially seeking the online-search-experience of people new to flat bottom boats – I wanted to know if they encountered problems getting answers to their questions. I soon discovered that there was a lot of frustration around the topic. So, I gathered the mosts common key questions that these new boaters were asking, something I continue to do to this day, and started to create content to answer those questions. This, as you may imagine, takes a considerable amount of time and money to do.
At a later stage in this website’s growth I added advertisements and some affiliate links (see here for an explanation of those) in order to help fund the site. Without the conservative earnings from those sources I would find it difficult to continue growing this website.
So, it is my sincerest hope that the pages on this website inform and entertain, as I endeavour to share my knowledge and experience with my readers.
P.S. I don’t own an airboat yet but I can dream!