CAD Boat Design Software – Learn to Use

CAD Boat Design Software – Learn to Use
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The CAD boat design software we are going to discuss here is ideal for the hobbyist. There are two reasons for this. First, it’s free, and second, it provides you with a sufficient number of useful design data items to actually start building a boat hull. The name of the CAD package is Bearboat Classic Kayak Designer©.

Some Boat Design Basics

Before actually starting the boat design, there are a few important terminologies you should be aware of. Please understand the terminologies from the snaps below. (Click the images to enlarge, and then use the “Back” button in your browser to return to this page.)

Boat Top View

Getting Started With Bearboat Classic Kayak Designer

  • Download and install the package. Run the application by double-clicking the shortcut.
  • You will get the home screen like below:

Kayak 1

  • The application will consider all the required default values to start with. The standard practice here is to start with the default input values and observe the numerical as well as the graphic output fields to fine tune the input values in line with your design requirements. Keep on fine tuning the input values until you are satisfied with the output.
  • Click the “Curve of Areas” button. A window will appear like below:

Kayak 2

The curve is showing the wetted surface area from the bow to the stern. The cross sections, length and width of the boat are controlled from here. All the white background fields and the displacement (yellow background field) are editable. You can fine tune the editable fields to get the desired cross section of the boat.

For example, if you want to fine tune the prismatic coefficient, then you have to modify the values at the bow, midbow, stern, and midstern fields of the “area of curves” window.

  • Hit the “Home” button and you will get the main window back. Click the “Save As” button to save the design by suitable name and location.
  • Now click the “Bird” button, and you will get a window opened like below:

kayak 3

You will see the top view of the boat at the graphic section. The blue line and all the field with blue text are for “water line” and the black line and the black colored texts are for “seam line”.

  • Hit the “Side” button now. You will get the side view and the parameters related to side view:

kayak 4

Again you have for arbitrary fields: Bow, MidBow, Midstern and Stern to control the heights of the seam and rocker of the boat. Blue colored ones are for rocker and black for seam.

  • Whenever you make significant changes to the parameters to your design and want it to be permanent, you have to go the “Home” screen and hit the “Save” button.
  • You click the “X Section” and you will be able to view the cross sections at different lengths of the boat:

kayak 5

  • Move the slider to view the cross sections and the related parameters from bow to stern.
  • Now come back to the “home” window and hit the “Save text record of the boat defining parameters” button to save all the parameters. You can visualize the parameters using MS excel or MS word.
  • For printing the various cross sections of the just designed boat, hit the “Print plans” button there. Once you click the button you will see the “Print building plan” window. Here at the top section you specify from what length up to what length you want the cross sections. Also, you have to specify the “Skip” value in case you want multiple sections. At the bottom left corner of the window, you have to specify the fraction of the actual size you want to print. Or, in other word you specify the scale here. The section just above this is for specifying the paper size.


Bearboat Classic Kayak Designer© is simple, free and a sufficiently powerful CAD boat design program for new boat designers to start with. Though the CAD boat design software does not have 3D capabilities, the 2D sections and the highlighted parameters will guide you suitably to design a good boat.