Mitch Dreisbach, of Stuart, was in the market for a boat to scratch his shallow water itch, offer a stable platform for the family days to the sandbar, and not break the bank.
While out on an alligator hunt, his guide had a Texas made “scooter” style boat. Dreisbach quickly fell in love with the wide open deck layout, which worked great for gator hunting. Boom. That’s when the light flipped on in Dreisbach’s head: This would be a perfect layout for what he was looking to do.
Embarking on the new journey, Dreisbach came across a 24 Caravelle and decided it met his criteria. It’s a very unique hull design, with the forward 14 feet being a catamaran configuration, cutting back to a flat bottom skiff for the last 10 feet. With shallow water accessibility being a necessity, he made sure it was capable. “I wanted a really shallow draft,” he said. With the hull having only 19 inches of freeboard, it checked the box.
“When I bought the hull,” Dreisbach said,”it was rotted, foam was wet. it was heavy and the boat wasn’t structurally okay. I got it all the way down to the 3/4-inch fiberglass hull. I spent two and a half weeks on a grinder trying to get this thing clean.” Dreisbach had a blank canvas, and began laying in the bulkheads every two feet, and constructing the deck. Using Nida-Core, the deck was built off of the boat, laid on the boat, and glassed the rest of the way. To improve performance in shallow water, Mitch raised the transom four inches and installed a jackplate for extra engine height.
At the start of the build, Dreisbach had made a pact with himself to use only repurposed and recycled parts. Motor, steering wheels, even the tower came from another boat. In the end, his resourcefulness paid off, with an awesome boat that does everything it was meant to do, and still looks good. The original boat cost Dreisbach $5,000, and with an additional $11,000 in modifications, the total for his dreamboat came out to $16,000.