Wheelbarrow Dinghy

Wheelbarrow Dinghy

The wheelbarrow dinghy is available as four options; digital plans, full-sized paper plans, kits, and wood-only kits  Details>>

The vessel is also available in non-wheelbarrow form as our Angus Pram.

We are excited to offer the world's first stitch-and-glue construction wheelbarrow boat.  This isn't just a good looking, practical and fast pram, but it is also easily transported like a wheelbarrow.  A single wheel in the bow combined with an ingenious system of transforming the oars into wheelbarrow handles allows the vessel to be easily transported over land.

This wheelbarrow boat can carry up to two adults and two kids, has three flotation chambers, and the hull is made from ten panels facilitating elegant beauty and dome-like integrity.  The vessel is a featherlight 48 lbs (45 lbs without the wheel), which is the lightest pram of its size that we're aware of.  It has been designed to simplify construction as much as possible without sacrificing looks and performance.  

The Pinnacle of Practicality

Versatility and practicality were the key attributes we were striving for with this boat.  Transporting boats on land is always challenging - in particular if you're doing it singlehandedly.  There are all sorts of gizmos available such as folding wheels and compact dollies but the fact is none compare to the simplicity and comfort of a good wheelbarrow design.  

But we didn't want this boat to just be a great wheelbarrow.  We also wanted it to be one of the best looking and capable tenders/dinghies around.  We carefully studied dozens of prams and dinghies currently on the market and looked at what works and what doesn't work, and made sure to combine the very best attributes along with our own innovative ideas to create a functional dinghy. 

Please click the image below to view the Wheelbarrow Dinghy  Photo Gallery. 


Wheelbarrow boat going down sidewalk


 Some of the vessel's key features include

Light Weight: Even with the wheel, the wheelbarrow boat is a featherlight 48 lbs.  Light weight is important for hauling onto the decks of larger boats when being used as a tender and for providing better performance on the water.  We achieve this low weight by emulating carvel construction rather than lapstrake (which gives better weight for strength by allowing glass on both sides) and using 4 ml hull planks sandwiched with glass on both sides (which is a form of cored composite construction).  Additionally, the rounded dome shape of the hull, comprised of 10 hull panels, creates extra stiffness and rigidity.

Performance: This is achieved through shape and length.  Short boats quickly hit their maximum hull speed, so every inch of extra waterline length makes a big difference.  We made this design as long as possible, while still allowing the hull panels to be cut from a single piece of standard marine ply.  Additionally, 10 hull panels allow for a rounded hull (though flat on the bottom for stability) for reduced wetted area.  Anybody who rows this boat is impressed with how quickly and easily it moves through the water.

Transom Clearance: A pram has not one, but two transoms.  The bow transom allows the vessel to be larger for its size, but it also poses a potential problem.  Transoms, whether fore or aft, create an immense amount of drag due to turbulence if submerged.  We have created significant rocker on our vessel meaning the transoms are clear of the water, except when the boat is very heavily loaded.  As a result, the vessel glides easily through the water.

Wheelbarrow Boat Bookcase

People/Cargo Mover: A lot of thought went into being able to row this small boat optimally with different passenger configurations.  Two rowing stations allow the boat to have good trim with different combinations of passengers.  The wheelbarrow boat has a maximum capacity of 400 lbs.

Safety:  Good stability, high freeboard and three independent flotation chambers provide a safe ride.

Rowing Geometry: Too many boat designers don't adhere to optimal rowing geometry.  We made sure that all aspects of the rowing design - height of seat from bilge, height of oarlocks above seat, etc. are all optimal to provide solid rowing comfort and performance.

Ease of Building: We wanted to make this boat as easy as possible to build.  All holes are pre-drilled for stitching with copper wires, bulkhead locations marked with drill holes, and dowels and slots are used to guide pieces together like Ikea furniture.  Build time is 40-60 hours.

Practical Wheelbarrow:  It's surprising how much detail needs to be thought out to create a wheelbarrow boat.  For example, the oar keyholes in the transom had to be designed to allow easy insertion of the oars with the oar collars, not have the oarlocks (which are permanently on the oars) be in the way, and to hold the oars firmly in position.  Not only that, but we wanted the oar holes to also double as handles for lifting the boat.  Even more thought went into creating a practical wheel well that wouldn't leak, and would still allow flotation chambers and seat up forward.  

Subtle Transformer: The wheel protruding from under the bow is never noticed, so the vessel looks no different from any other pram.  The only giveaway that something is unique about this boat is the peculiar oar keyholes in the transom.  Passersby stop in amazement when the boat reaches shore and suddenly converts to a wheelbarrow.

Makes a Great Bookcase: This is a boat that does a lot of things.  As well as being a good boat, and a super wheelbarrow, it's also a fantastic bookcase. Read more about converting it to a bookcase here.

Tracking/Towing: The wheelbarrow dinghy has a large skeg to assist with tracking and towing (when towed as a tender).  It also has two abrasion strips to protect the bottom of the hull

  Instructional Resources

 We designed this boat for beginners, making sure all the construction processes are as simple as possible.  But creating an easy-to-build boat is not enough.  It is important to support the builder with adequate learning resources.  For this boat we went to more effort than ever before and created the following resources:

  • Manual:  A 64,000-word illustrated manual 
  • Video: A two-hour instructional video
  • Photo Build Gallery: Clear photos illustrating the entire build process
  • Builder's Forum: A community forum to pose questions.
  • Email Support: Still have a question?  We're always ready to help.


  • Length Overall: 7' 9" (238 cm)
  • Waterline Length: 6' 8" (207 cm)
  • Beam: 48" (122cm)
  • Weight: 48 lbs (22 kg)
  • Watertight compartments: 3
  • Depth: 14.5" (37 cm)
  • Freeboard at 200lb displacent: 10"  (25 cm)
  • Freeboard at 400 lb displacement: 7.5 " (19 cm)
  • Sprint speed: 4 knots
  • Cruise Speed: 3-3.5 knots 
  • Maximum capacity 400 lbs (181 kg)

A build gallery showcasing the dinghy built from a kit can be seen here:  And to view a view a video of a fun winter crabbing trip with the kids, please click here.

Wheelbarrow Dinghy Pricing

To purchase the Wheelbarrow Kit or Plans please click on the red links below.

Digital Plans & Manual              $129 USD

Includes PDF files for the full-sized plans and manual that can be printed and DXF files that can be used to cut the plywood at a local CNC shop. It also includes lofting plans for those who prefer to loft.

 Full-Sized Plans & Manual         $159 USD

Includes full sized plans and manual. DXF files available for an extra $30. 
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Complete Kit                                $1450 USD
Includes everything required to complete your own Wheelbarrow Dinghy including CNC-precision-cut wood pieces, hardware and wheel.
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Wood Parts Only Kit                    $925 USD

Includes CNC-cut plywood components and precision-cut dimensional lumber to build your boat
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