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- by Katie Mc Phail

For someone living in the Northwest this is hard to imagine. But the grind of the work week, coupled with our increasing number of personal responsibilities can leave a person wrung-out by week's end. Boating is one way to re-hydrate the spirit but, as many boat owner can tell you, this hobby comes with a healthy dose of added headache and responsibility.

Duroboat Aluminum Skiff
Promoting an elegantly simple solution to getting the family out on the water, Duroboat produces light aluminum boats form 10' - 16'.

Boating does not have to be complicated or expensive. It is possible to go boating with a sense of proportion that fits small families, singles, or retirees on a budget.

One Northwest family is trying to bring boating back to the basics. Duroboat, a father-daughter (and three other key employee) operation, in Snohomish Washington, offers an alternative to the high financed gas guzzling boats that often occupy an unmerited amount of space in the garage. Instead, these little skiffs (10' to 16' feet in length) allow boaters to explore the waters of the Pacific Northwest in an economical way, and with minimal environmental impact. Tow-able with an economy car and able to provide a full day of fun on about 4 gallons of gas, Duroboat takes boating back to the future: small traditional boats utilizing modern clean burning outboards.

The advantage of a Duroboat is no secret to the Northwest. These brightly colored aluminum boats have navigated the waters of Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia since Duroboat first opened shopped in Seattle 25 years ago. While other boats have trended towards bigger, bad-er, bolder, Duroboat has maintained a classic style and unique construction (no weld, no rivets) since its conception in 1983. Small boat simplicity is particularly attractive to boaters concerned with the quality of their boating experience, rather than then the ego-boost, their ride can provide. One such boater is Dave Helland.

Helland is the quintessential northwest boater. He doesn't chase fish, throw a big wake, or boast huge horse power, and he certainly doesn't let a little drizzle keep him docked.

As a lifelong resident of the northwest and with fervor for outdoor exploration, Helland might well be the most traveled Puget Sound and BC Coastal explorer of modern day. He has journeyed in, around, and through, nearly every nook and cranny of the San Jauns, Vancouver Island and the wildly rugged BC coastline. In his original 12 foot and current 14 foot Duroboats, Dave has seen magnificent sights that would be inaccessible to a boat any larger or less sea worthy. Venturing into hidden ports and fjord, Helland is likely the first visitor to these areas in months; some such as the spectacular five mile long Estero Basin is only accessible by the smallest of boats when the tides are just right.

Helland uses his Duroboat regularly, but not to keep up with the Joneses or occupy excess storage, he enjoys boating for all the natural beauty the Puget Sound waters have to offer, and he's not about to spend time or energy on a high-maintenance boat that impedes or complicates his travel.

Whether you're like Helland, and venture into isolated waters alone, or prefer to travel, explore, fish, or take the kids tubing with a companion, the ease and benefit of boating should always be worth the time and resources you devote to the experience. Given the beautiful surroundings we enjoy here in the Puget Sound area, in the right boat this shouldn't be difficult, even on a budget.

Duroboat's website aims to provide solid information and a sense of community. It features photos from around the world, includes owner's notes on economy and other useful bits of boater info.

If the reasons you love our gorgeous northwest waters are simple, shouldn't boating be just as basic?

For more info visit or call 1(800) 266-0197

Duroboat Aluminum Skiff
Duroboat Aluminum Skiff
Duroboat Aluminum Skiff
Duroboat Aluminum Skiff