The Latest

Changing a Runabout to an Open Utility Cockpit

On October 27, 2010, in News From Gayle, by Gayle Brantuk

We frequently get questions about opening up the cockpit of a runabout design, such as the Zip, to make it one large open cockpit. This is also referred to as a “utility cockpit”.

In most cases, this alteration is feasible and simple to do. Plans for runabouts may have a mid-deck with beams that extend completely across the  boat. The deck beams are cut away in a utility configuration.

To maintain the structural integrity of the cockpit, the carling should be in full length and the ends of the partially removed mid-deck beams should be capped. The carling is the longitudinal member that borders the cockpit.

An example of a carling that extends full length to border an open cockpit is shown in the construction drawings for the Fisherman:

Click image to enlarge

You’ll notice we stated that changing to an open cockpit works in “most cases”. We can’t offhand think of a design in which this wouldn’t work, but there are always exceptions.  On some of our runabout plans that have multiple cockpits, the coaming is already in one piece anyway so omitting the mid-deck beams and capping them is all that’s needed.

The primary reason for multiple cockpits is because the boat is styled after the classic designs from Chris-Craft, Garwood and others of that era. They just look nice with multiple cockpits and that was common practice.

There are some builders who would prefer a more detailed explanation of this alteration. So a while back, we added a utility version of our 19′ Monaco runabout. This utility version still has a forward cockpit, but opens up the mid-section that usually covers the motor. This feature is detailed in an additional addendum sheet and instructions.

By the way, our Zip plans actually provide the option for a utility version in the instructions so this alteration has already been done on this one.

Changing Cockpit Arrangement

On a similar note, many builders also change the arrangement of the seats in the cockpit. Bill Edmundson changed the forward cockpit on his Tahoe to include a captain’s chair and a bench seat on the starboard side running fore and aft.

Butch Barto made a pass-through for the front bench seat in his Tahoe 24. Another builder, Mr. Andreassen, made a pass through from one cockpit to the other in his Zip.

Butch Barto’s Tahoe Runabout

Kent Andreassen’w Zip

Once again, this is another great reason to build your own boat because then you can get just the boat you want. And, you don’t have to pay through the nose for a custom built boat. Who else knows your needs better than you? The manufacturer? The government? Nope. You know better than anyone the needs of you and your family.

I hope this information helps. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.



Your Thoughts?

One Response to Changing a Runabout to an Open Utility Cockpit

  1. henry wiggins says:

    Thanks verry much Gayle for the information on the seat arrigiment, thanks again

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *