Scaup 16

Scaup16-3DI have been designing, building, and hunting with my own duck hunting boats for more than 20 years now and when the request came along for a bigger Sneak Box-type boat that could hunt 3 hunters with dogs and gear, I leapt on the opportunity. This was from a simple point of view, an enlarging of many boats that I had done before but with a couple of extra twists that would make her hunt more effectively with such a crowd of hunters. It was important to have a boat with a big enough cockpit to handle the shooters but was also important to hold the draft or depth of the boat down to a minimum to allow taking her into the shallows. I wanted to use enough power to plane the boat with her full load of hunters and gear and still keep as low of a profile as possible to almost allow the Scaup to be used as a layout boat for low-blind hunting conditions.


This boat can carry more than 120 decoys and there is room believe it or not to hunt up to 3 hunters and a dog to pick up downed birds. The cockpit opening is almost nine and a half feet long and more than 4 feet wide. But yet there is enough side deck as to allow the boat to be grassed out and concealed. From coast to coast this is the finest and most concealable 3-person boat going. — Sam Devlin

The Scaup 16 is available in study and full construction plans.

The Scaup is also available in an 18-foot version with study and construction plans. Bring two dogs!


Scaup 16 Specifications

Length 15 ft. – 11 in.
Beam 6 ft. – 1 in.
Draft 9.75 in. Loaded
Power Outboard 40hp
Displacement 285 lbs.
Speed 28mph w/ medium load
Max Load 890 lbs.
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Snow Goose

SnowGooseDockI was asked just the other day which boat of all my duck-hunting boats was my favorite and while I am at first inclined to answer that you always should love the one you are with, (that means the boat I currently own, or the one I am using at the moment), the truth is I have real soft spot in my heart for the “Cackler” series of boats. These little “Garvey-type” hunting boats are properly most similar to a sled with decks. They are great all-around boats that do what is asked of them with little fuss and no whining. They can be used as proper and concealable hunting boats but also excel in other categories of use. Little things like being a great platform for the Spring trout opener on the local lakes, a proper water-ski boat for my young sons, a little beach/log salvage work on the salt-waters of Puget Sound, and many other uses. If there were a best all around boat Oscar category, then the Cackler-type boats would be nominated year after year.

SnowGooseTrailerThe Snow Goose is just the latest in our offerings of the boats in the Cackler series. She measures in at a length that falls directly between the large and capable Honker design and the smaller and more cancelable Cackler 14. She has a bit less freeboard (or side height) than the Cackler 14 and shares the same outboard mounting feature that the larger Honker has. The outboard motor (up to 40 hp) mounts on the stern of the boat with a bailing splashwell just in front of the engine. There is room below the splashwell for a 9-gallon portable fuel tank that is safe in place and out of view. On both sides of the splashwell are positive floatation chambers (to make the boat non-sinkable) and in front of that a very large cockpit, with proper side decks to allow for a reserve of buoyancy and camoflageability. In front of the cockpit is a foredeck with stowage below and in the very bow of the boat, another floatation chamber. She is unsinkable, will hunt up to 3 hunters, and is strong and solid. In my ever so humble opinion, this boat is dollar for dollar, pound for pound, the best bang for your buck! The Snow Goose is going to be my next boat and I’m thinking will be a proper member of my family for good. I hope you, too, will like this boat. — Sam Devlin

The Devlin Snow Goose is available in study and construction plans.



Snow Goose Specifications

Length 15 ft. – 7 in.
Beam 5 ft. – 11 in.
Draft 7 in. Loaded
Power Outboard 40hp
Displacement 300 lbs.
Max Load 950 lbs.
Speed 35 mph w/ medium load
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We have over the years designed and built 4 different models of scull boats and the Sculldugery is the latest in our offerings. For those of you who don’t know the idic scull boat for the waterfowler is a boat that generally fits a single hunter (usually without dog) and is not hunted in the idic sense over a clutch of decoys. This is a boat that is moved slowly and smoothly through the water towards raft of waterfowl with the hunter lying in prone position in the bottom of the boat. Propulsion is a single oar that extends out through the stern (transom) of the boat and thru a waggling motion the boat moves silently and smoothly forward. When the raft of ducks is closed to a shooting distance, the hunter then sits upright in the boat, ostensibly at this time the ducks take off in flight and with some fine shooting a limit of ducks can be paddled or sculled out to and picked up.

If you haven’t limited out with the first batch of shooting then the whole process starts all over, first the sneak-up, then the shooting. It is a slow and methodical process, and I must state here that it is not the kind of hunting for everybody, you must be patient and careful, but when the success ratio is good this is the closest thing to market shooting that exists in today’s hunting world. The market shooters did the same process the only difference being that they used an extremely large-bore shotgun loaded with just about anything that was on the workbench that was metal. The kill ratios were high and the bird populations suffered enough that the Feds got into the act and put a stop to the fun. The Sculldugery is a true scull boat that must be operated properly by a hunter interested in a type of hunting that few do these days. I hope that you will like the boat, but most of all when you lay down that first double without even setting one decoy and without having to sit for hours in a cold blind I am betting that you too will like this type of hunting. — Sam Devlin

The Sculldugery is available in study and construction plans.


Sculldugery Specifications

Length 15 ft. – 6 in.
Beam 3 ft. – 2 in.
Draft 6 in.
Power Scull
Max Load 850 lbs.
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Black Brant III

All right, “What is this nonsense about a Black Brant III and why the new design?” In order to properly understand the way life goes out here in Devlin Boat Land, you must first of all take a long distance view of the operation with enough time factor thrown in to really view the scene in geological perspective. Over the twenty some years that I have been designing and building hunting boats, there has been a lot of time and years with which to evolve more than a couple of designs. My Dad says that I am an almost constant “tinkerer”, which is probably a nice way to say that, while I think my designs are the best available and I believe in them without reservations, that I am also aware that nothing in life is perfect and that the way to Nirvana is to continually strive to do better. All this might just be the internal conflict with a Protestant work ethic or some other type of spiritual psycho-babble but the bottom line is that many of our designs get changed, little by little, until they reach a better plateau of use.

After the HuuntBut in some cases the new design, while it has its strengths, doesn’t in a definitive way do the job that much better than the preceding design. In the case of our Black Brant designs, I already had a boat that did its job very well. That job was to allow two to three hunters to safely and efficiently hunt. But along came the desire of some of us to travel faster under power in less draft of water, thus was born the new design – the Black Brant III. This boat is simply a shallower draft and faster speed version of the Black Brant design, and if that is what you need, then this is the boat for you. But the difficulty of replacing the Black Brant was not simple because it also did its job extremely efficiently. So if you find that most of your hunting is in open water and you really aren’t traveling more than a couple of miles from ramp to your hunting area, then the Black Brant design is the best for your purposes. She is quite a bit deeper and a reasonable amount slower than the Black Brant III.

Happy DogBut if you are finding that you need to operate in shallower water and are traveling quite a distance from launch-ramp to the hunting area and a couple of inches more of sitting blind height doesn’t hurt, then by all means choose the Black Brant III. In both cases, these boats are about as thoroughbred of hunting boats as you are going to find and both have undergone trial by fire for more than a few hunting seasons. I hope you can make up your mind as to which is the best for you. — Sam Devlin

The Black Brant III is available in study and construction plans.


Black Brant III Specifications

Length 14 ft. – 0 in.
Beam 5 ft. – 10 in.
Draft 7.75 in. Loaded
Power Outboard, 25hp
Displacement 225 lbs.
Max Load 780 lbs.
Speed 20mph medium load


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Black Brant II

blackbrantIIPerspectiveWe have by now built well in excess of 60 of these boats and at around 130 hours each building time, that adds up to something like 7,800 man-hours of working time. Let’s see….that equals the output of someone working full time for almost 4 years. You would think that after all that time, and I couldn’t count how many hours spent in the marsh using the boats, that we could come up with what might just be the quintessential, premier “Duck Hunting Boat”. I am sorry, did I hear trumpets playing in the background? Well this “Black Brant” is really a fine Duck Boat under anyone’s consideration. She has several features that are worth noting, the first of which is her very interesting outboard motor well configuration. You see, the outboard motor fits not on the stern of the boat but on a bulkhead that is forward of the back of the boat by about 24 inches in length. This allows the operator of the boat to sit further forward in the boat than would be the case with the outboard mounted on the stern, and allows the foam flotation of the stern area to be made up in the sponsons on either side of the outboard well. The outboard itself since it is further forward is now more conceivable and in a position that the birds flying overhead can’t see it as clearly and distinctly. Forward of the outboard well is a cockpit large enough to for up to 3 hunters with 2 being an ideal number, especially if you’ve got a good retriever along to pick up the downed birds.


blackbrantIIDogThere is space to carry up to 6 dozen decoys in the boat and your able dog won’t have much trouble getting back on board with a bird in its mouth. All you need to do is have the dog swim up alongside the cockpit of the boat with the bird in their mouth, and if you place your hand behind its head the dog will place its front paws on the side deck of the boat, push against your hand and pop-up on board. Your hand gave the dog the leverage that it needed to swing up onboard and it all happens quicker than the description takes to write about. A single day of hunting on board a boat like this and your dog now looks forward to hunting in a way that it never could before.

The Black Brant has a covered foredeck in front of the cockpit with storage below and foam compartment way up in the bow of the boat. This is coast to coast, one fine duck boat, and her owners are her biggest fans. Talk to one and you will find a hunter that knows they have found the best tool for their hunting pleasure. — Sam Devlin

The Black Brant II is available in study and construction plans.



Black Brant II Specifications

Length 14 ft. – 0 in.
Beam 5 ft. – 10 in.
Draft 11 in. Loaded
Power Outboard, 25hp
Displacement 225 lbs.
Max Load 780 lbs.
Speed 20mph medium load
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MallardBeauty1This is an old and venerable design by now with the first design and boat built more than 20 years ago as I write this. She is of the “SneakBox” type of boat with the transom accommodating up to a 15 hp outboard motor, but she also rows or poles very well. In fact, of all the “SneakBox” types of boats that we design and build, the little Mallard is the best at rowing. Now all that good rowing performance does cut down into her top speed under power and if you envision blasting around the duck marsh at something exceeding the frostbite limit of the end of your nose then you would do well to search on to another of our designs. But if you are looking for a very fine little duckboat that will power well under oar and will hunt with you and a buddy in a safe and efficient manner then the “Mallard” is a fine selection.

There is positive foam 3 point flotation that allows the boat to float level and upright even if the cockpit were full of water. There is a lot of piece of mind to this flotation and we use it on all of our hunting boats. The hull is built of high grade marine plywood covered with epoxy resin and sheathed on the exterior with epoxy resin and fiberglass cloth. The result is a lightweight, durable boat that isn’t as noisy as straight fiberglass or metal boats and the hull itself is more insulative and on a cold day in the marsh, that makes a lot of difference in comfort.


Our “Mallard” is a great boat for the hunter that likes to occasionally hunt alone, or with a buddy and a good dog. She accommodates up to about 3 dozen decoys with two hunters on board and is very concealable (low profile). This is a good, quality duck hunting boat, designed for the marsh and her purpose in life is to place you in circumstances and situations that might just be life memories. — Sam Devlin

The Mallard is available in study and construction plans.


Mallard Specifications

Length 12 ft. – 11 in.
Beam 4 ft. – 10 in.
Draft 5 in.
Power Oars, 15hp Outboard
Displacement 155 lbs.
Speed 15 mph (medium load)
Max Load 580 lbs.
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Bluebill4ViewsThe Devlin Bluebill is an evolution of his Broadbill sneakbox. First, it can carry two hunters and their gear, as opposed to the Broadbill’s single hunter plus dog design. This boat also incorporates the innovation of an outboard well and its multiple advantages. Sinking the 20hp outboard into the stern of the boat creates a better load and balance setup for this much power on a small boat. It creates ideal spaces for fuel tanks on either side of the well. And finally, Sam feels very strongly that not having an outboard hanging off the back of the boat helps you outsmart those wary late season birds. On top of that, it offers the usual Devlin advantages of ruggedness, versatility, and ease of construction.

Read how the Bluebill was born from tragedy in Sam’s design notes.

The Devlin Bluebill is available in study and construction plans.

Bluebill Specifications

Length 12 ft. – 1 in.
Beam 4 ft. – 11 in.
Draft 6.75 in.
Power 20 hp Outboard
Displacement 155 lbs.
Speed 28 mph (medium load)
Max Load 610 lbs.
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BroadbillThis is the smallest of our offerings in the “SneakBox” type of hunting boats. The “Broadbill” is intended for the solo hunter, being small enough and light enough to fit into the back of a pickup or you might even consider cartopping. Its incredible low profile and small size make it an ideal candidate for hunting just offshore from the larger more established blinds in your hunting areas or you might use it as a layout type boat. In either case, a low blind setup is the best way to use her and with your favorite dog between your legs and up to a dozen high quality decoys set out, you will be amazed at how efficient she hunts. This little boat is the Holy Grail of hunting where your biggest problem will be how to raise up the ducks that sneaked up on you and are swimming in with your decoys. She accommodates up to 15 HP outboard on her stern and speeds under power can run up to 30 miles per hour. Many times I have hunted in areas where a lot of other hunters were having no luck and my biggest problem was in hitting the birds before they could land in the decoys. Ahhh…….life should be as simple as this! — Sam Devlin

The Broadbill is available as study and construction plans.

Broadbill Specifications

Length 10 ft. – 8 in.
Beam 4 ft. – 6.5 in.
Draft 4.5 in.
Power Oars, or 15 hp outboard
Dry Weight 105 lbs.
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The Honker is a lightweight, shallow draft vessel that, with a 60 horse outboard, can race along at 30 knots or idle for hours while trolling for salmon or bottom fish. It was designed as a great sporting platform, equally at home with fishing tackle and duck decoys. With its shallow draft, it is ideal for pushing into hidden corners of the wilderness in search of fun and adventure With its rugged construction, the Honker can be easily beached for hiking, hunting, and camping. As a flexible design, your Honker can be configured with dry, lockable storage for sleeping bags and long underwear.  Room for three people and a week’s worth of their gear is easy with the Honker.


The Honker is a classic Devlin design. Read how Sam was inspired in his design notes.

The Honker is available as study and full construction plans. There is even a pilothouse option in the construction plans.



Honker Specifications

Length 18 ft. – 3 in.
Beam 7 ft. – 0 in.
Draft 8.5 in. at full displacement
Power Outboard 70hp
Displacement 475 lbs.
Max Load 1580 lbs.


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Honker Design Notes

Let’s start out with the description of the Honker design by describing a typical cruise that one might anticipate going on with this boat.

My own two sons are now ages 14 and 10. We all like to fish and explore some of the more out of the way areas in the Northwest where we live and for years, I have been aware of a place on the West Coast of Vancouver Island called Barkley Sound. This year we decided to have a go at exploring this area by boat. My choices were to take one of our larger boats and spend 3 days travel time (dependent on good weather) just to get up to Barkley Sound. Or we could trailer our Honker up behind the family pickup on gravel roads and launch in the sound itself at a place called Alberni Inlet and motor around the Sound beach cruising.

This trailering trip would take only one day to get there and allowed us more exploring time in the Sound itself. Also with our weather being as fickle as it is up here, the chances of being able to pick a window of 3 to 4 days of good weather was far more likely than if we had taken the larger boat and we could do the whole trip in 4 or 5 days instead of just traveling up and back in the larger boat in the same period of time. We could spend nights on the shore camped in a backpacking tent and each day could be spent fishing and exploring our two favorite things to do.

For our purposes, the Honker is ideally suited, being a light weight shallow draft vessel that with a 60 horse outboard, can race along at 30 knots or can idle for hours while trolling for salmon or bottom fish. We can cook the fresh caught fish each night for our meal and all that cooking could be done safely on a small propane barbecue carried on board the boat. Each night the Honker could be beached and the anchor rode carried up the beach and tied off to an accommodating tree or large rock. The split cockpit of our own Honker allows us to carry all camping gear and clothing in a waterproof, lockable, separate compartment. Room for the three of us and our fishing gear would be easily accommodated in the aft cockpit.

Carrying 24 gallons of fuel in four 6 gallon tanks gives enough range and fuel to keep us going for the time spent on the Sound. And just for my own peace of mind, a Jerry jug of 5 gallons capacity was carried just for emergency use. This 5 gallons alone would provide us with an additional 70 miles of running time, enough spare fuel to get back to civilization without worrying about picking up more fuel along the way.

A small vacation done in a vessel like this Honker is inexpensive and easy to do at thelast minute without a lot of preparation or planning. In fact, most of the gear we took was carried as survival packs and loaded into the boat in a matter of minutes. Two medium sized coolers filled by a stop at a grocery store along the way kept us in cold beer, pop and snacks for the trip and doubled in utility by allowing us to put fresh fish caught in the Sound and made Mom just a bit the happier for allowing her troop to go up into the wild and spend some quality time together.

Using a boat this way points quickly to the strengths and weaknesses of a design, and I’m happy to report that the Honker passed with flying colors. Her beachability was the most important quality, and the capability of carrying all gear in a separate storage area and not being underfoot during the day worked to perfection. The fuel and water situation worked out well also and the 5 gallon Jerry jug of extra fuel was not tapped into.

This little Honker has allowed us more useful boat for the dollar and hour of labor to construct than just about any other boat I can think of. I’m looking forward to this years adventures with her and my boys. We are all thinking about a longer even more ambitious trip this year, perhaps we might tackle the Queen Charlotte Islands. Now that would be a real trip!

I’ve even been thinking about building the small pilothouse/cabin that is shown here for the Honker giving us some foul weather capability in case the local weatherman screws up and really runs us afoul of a good mid summer storm for this year’s exploring. Take a look and you will see a real versatile boat that can provide you with a fine platform for playing on the water in your own areas.

— Sam Devlin

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