WEST BOUNTIFUL — Mike Stock has always wanted to have his own boat to dive from, but the costs were a little too high, so he decided to build his own boat.
What he thought would be a five-year project has turned into a 13-year undertaking.
Stock, a cabinet maker, started building the boat by following a step-by-step plan he found for a liveaboard — a boat used as a primary residence.
The 35-foot boat is complete with three floors and can sleep up to 12 people. Stock said he's built everything starting with the frame.
"Anything made of wood or the woodwork, I've done entirely," he said. "Coming from a cabinet maker's background to build a boat, you would think they were similar, but they're completely different."
Stock started working on the project for several hours on Saturdays and off and on during the week after work.
His first task was the frame, which was built upside down. That process took 10 years. Part of the reason it took so long was because during the winter he couldn’t work on the project.
“There was no way of heating it to use the glues and the paints and things,” Stock said.
Then when the hull was done, a crane was brought in to flip the boat.
“The last three years, I’ve been working on the topside, building the cabin and the bunk house and all the other rooms,” he said.
Stock said his secret to staying motivated over the years has been to not be in a hurry and to do a little bit of work each day.
“I just figured if you have the time and you can just do a little bit each day, then you can pretty much accomplish what you need to,” he said.
Stock said he has also learned how to handle setbacks.
“There’s frustration time when you are bending a board and it breaks or different things aren’t working out,” he said. “You have to step back and think about it.”
The greatest enjoyment he's received from undertaking the project is learning new skills, Stock said.
"Now when I get on the boat, not only do I know everything about the boat and what went into building it, but I have the confidence as well," he said.
Stock said his projected completion date is November.
“That’s just all depending on whether or not the guy that I am using to do the engine hookup and the rest of the electrical is able to finish,” he said.
When Stock looked into buying a liveaboard years ago, he said the cost was about $500,000. He figures when he is done building his boat, he will have spent about $180,000.
His family has supported him in the long project.
“They love the idea,” Stock said. “They also are all certified in scuba. They’ve all looked forward to the day when I’m done and they can go out and enjoy it and we can go on trips and things.”
The family plans to cruise up and down the Gulf Coast and go to the Caribbean. The goal is to one day live on the boat with his wife, but before that can happen, they need to sell their house.
The most common question people ask Stocks is: Will it float?
“Based on the architect’s plan and his suggestions, it should float,” he said. “They are confident, and so I am.
Contributing: Devon Dolan