Our stainless steel “luggage rack” is one of the most noticeable features of our project boat, Toy Boat 2. It addresses a problem that plagues all skiffs – a lack of storage. As noted in previous articles, loose gear is a safety hazard and can make fishing difficult.
We’re talking about tackle boxes, gear bags, safety equipment, coolers and other bulky items. These are things that wind up in a cockpit corner because they have nowhere else to go. Fishing rods are also a storage conundrum, but we’re reserving that for another article.
What are some options?
Storage solutions seem to fall into just a few categories:
Built-in storage compartments
Some of the best examples of built-in storage compartments can be seen on flats skiffs and bay boats. Their compartments have lips around the openings, many are gasketed, and some may have lift-assist struts.
General purpose storage boxes
Examples of general purpose storage boxes include the plain-old ice chest, along with various watertight cases and boxes. An important thing to remember is that watertight boxes trap moisture in, as well as keep moisture out, so you need to occasionally vent the container and let it breath.
Bags and hammocks
Bags and hammocks are soft-sided containers that may be free-standing or hanging. A great example is the Airhead T-Bag, which is designed to be hung on the underside of a boat’s T-top. Out of the way, but handy.
Purpose-built shelves or containers
Purpose-built shelves or containers are storage devices built for a specific purpose. These are almost always custom-built.
Toy Boat 2’s luggage rack falls into this last category. We had it built to address a specific need on our boat, and we haven’t seen anything much like it.
The birth of an idea…
We got the idea after fishing with Captain Conway Bowman on one of his past boats: a Parker 1801 center console. Parker builds great boats, and the 1801 is typical Parker: tough, simple layout, no nonsense or frills. It has a large console, with a seat in front and an anchor locker, but almost no other storage.
When we fished with Captain Bowman, we stacked our bags on top of the console front seat to keep them out of the way. Some bungee cord kept things in place while running. But the bungees made accessing the bags difficult. Not a big deal, but inconvenient.
We faced the same problem with Toy Boat 2. Our Edgewater 175CC has a large compartment under the front casting deck, a small compartment under the console seat, and almost no extra storage in the console.
After some head-scratching and a couple of cups of coffee, we came up with the idea of building a removable rack that fit in front of the console.