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​Moccasin 14 Canoe: History

Posted by Bill Burk on Sep 1st 2010

The story begins with a search on the internet to find a light weight boat I could build in my garage and use for fishing or just poking around in the many waterways in the Puget Sound area. When I found B&B Yacht Designs Moccasin 12 Canoe I knew that was the boat for me. I built the Moccasin 12 and enjoyed using it for 5 years before deciding I needed a larger boat if I was going to get serious about Canoe Camping. The Bowron Canoe Circuit in British Columbia, Canada requires that your boat have 6 inches of freeboard when loaded and Ross Lake in Washington has a restriction of 14 feet to use the truck portage over the dam between lakes.

I liked the 27 inch width of the Moccasin 12 but needed more load carrying capacity. I weighed all the clothes, food and gear I carry and arrived at 110 to 120 pounds, plus my weight and a little extra to arrive at 350 pound load.

So that meant I needed a light weight, 14 foot boat that could hold 350 pounds and still have enough freeboard to qualify for the Bowron Circuit.

The next step was to ask Graham if he had a boat in his library of designs that would fit my needs:

Length: 14 feet - Width: 27 inches

Capacity: 350 pounds - Weight: 35 pounds

Graham returned the Moccasin 12 hull sheets with notations to up-size the 12 to a 14 while keeping the original classic design and a projected weight of 42 lbs. His design exceeded my load capacity by 15 pounds and beat the projected weight by 6 pounds.

Moccasin 14 Hull #1 was built from these plans and was used two months later on our yearly fishing trip to Murtle Lake in British Columbia, Canada for a two week camping trip.

That boat was used on every trip and outing for 6 years until I completed Moccasin 14 Hull #3 in 2013. This boat contains some refinements, mostly personal design features including floatation voids in the ends and slotted inwales to appear as ribbed hull, also rip-stop nylon skirts that cover 2/3 of the boat to help keep out the rain when paddling.

My brother-in-law built Hull #2 and we enjoy canoe camping together. We get asked about the boats and people can’t believe we made them and they are so light weight. Once, another paddler with a Kevlar canoe, also 14 ft., bet his boat was lighter, turned out they were the same weight, put a grin on my face.

A typical conversation with an interested party that just watched me carry the boat from the truck to the shore goes something like this:

WOW! Nice boat, did you make it?

Thank you, Yes I did.

Was it a kit?

No, I built from plans I found on the Internet.

Looks light

Only 36 pounds

Really! Can it hold two people?

It is designed as a solo canoe with a weight capacity of 350 pounds.

So you could put two people in it?

The seating would have to change to accommodate two as long as the weight limit was not exceeded. But it is intended as a solo canoe.

The Moccasin Canoe has pleasing lines with classic good looks and above average performance. These boats have been tested in high mountain storms, wind driven waves, torrential down pours, fast moving rivers and sunny days gliding on mirror like water.

Well designed



Light weight

Easy to carry

Easy to car-top

And above all, the satisfaction and pride of having built it yourself!

3 Lake Trout too big to keep.

4 Moccasin 14-3 on portage to the lake.

5 Preparing to enter the river after a portage.

6 Fully loaded, paddling to the next campsite.

7 Moc14-3 Foggy morning with the skirts on.

8 Moc14-3 Portage between lakes

Bowron Canoe Circuit located in Bowron Provincial Park of British Columbia, Canada. We are re-entering the Isaac River after portage around a waterfall.

From Murtle Lake trip. Murtle is the largest paddle-only lake in North America, located in the Wells Gray Provincial Park of British Columbia, Canada.