Construction & Design



The Islamorada 18 utilizes a proprietary laminate to absorb sound and to maximize the weight-to-strength ratio, combined with high temperature cure aerospace grade epoxy, core-cell foam, s-core foam, s-glass, e-glass, nomex, carbon fiber and Kevlar. These materials are the same type used to build the stealth fighter, stealth bomber, America's Cup sailboats, high-end custom yachts and even high-speed military attack boats with speeds of 100 mph and above. The entire skiff is produced in a clean room similar to a hospital operating room. This reduces unwanted dust contamination while laminating, and controls temperature and humidity for a proper bond. Once all the epoxy parts are vacuum consolidated and temperature cured, they are now completely stable, allowing skiffs to be built with much closer tolerances, unlike other resins that allow the parts to expand and contract with heat. This instability derived from heat expansion will cause parts to constantly work against each other, as seen on hot days when hatches warp, corners lift and eventually the hatch cracks due to stress from misalignment.

"Using these materials for construction is the absolute best way to build a boat if the goal is to have the very lightest and strongest structure possible. No other material can yield this type of result."

One of the structural cores in this skiff is designated S-Core, used in the construction of submarines for the U.S Navy. This core is perfect for use in building a lightweight technical-poling skiff with its greater resistance to impact and its ability to absorb sound once it is combined with the proprietary laminate. The parts are then chemically bonded together with toughened bonding epoxy glue to form a single one-piece structure. The bonding of all the assembled parts produces a boat that is stronger than the part itself.

This skiff is truly the finest boat that can be built today, but there is a downside. In this case, it is the expense and the difficulty of this type of construction. The materials cost is far greater than conventional boat building material and the craftsman doing this type of construction have to be highly trained and skilled. It takes a lot more time to build this way; the process simply cannot be rushed. We believe the end result is well worth it. For professional guides, owners of sportfish boats with a skiff on the bow and serious anglers worldwide, Chittum Skiffs has taken the state of the art of the shallow water skiff to the highest level possible.

Islamorada 18 has eliminated most of the problems found in the past by coming up with new solutions – one example being the many fuel tank ruptures. When a standard heavy aluminum fuel tank fails due to the pounding and corrosion it is usually necessary to cut the deck for removal, a time consuming and costly proposition. A metal tank also generates a sloshing noise that can scare fish. For these reasons, the Islamorada 18's feature a lightweight polyethylene fuel cell that virtually eliminates corrosion and rupture problems. These synthetic fuel cells also feature a dual baffle system, so there is absolutely no fuel sloshing noise to scare fish.

The center console /ice chest/seat has a 3-inch toe kick all around to give the illusion that it is floating above the deck and also help keep water out of the console. The steering wheel is a Gemlux stainless steel with suicide knob mounted to a Sea Star 2.5 turns lock-to-lock hydraulic steering system pump that has been mounted under the console for a cleaner look. A billet aluminum trim tab switch is mounted just above the throttle for an easy reach, so you do not have to remove your hand from the throttle to adjust trim. The switch connects to Lectrotab trim tabs that were designed into this skiff because of their reliability. The 316 stainless steel trim pads are electro polished to eliminate staining and corrosion. The wiring and installation in the console has been designed by an electrical engineer to eliminate aggravating problems. It is as clean and as foolproof as it can be made, using only the finest parts and materials. The navigation and courtesy lights are all LCD; the running lights are shark eyes made from billet aluminum by Livorsi.

All the switches are military spec aircraft grade sealed in epoxy. These switches are used in conjunction with a waterproof breaker and the failure rate on these high quality switches is very low. These switches are expensive but well worth the cost. The console has been designed to use up to four Odyssey batteries for a 12-, 24-, and 36-volt trolling motor system. Odysseys are used by the military and have the best track record of any battery in its class; it is also one of the lightest of its type.

All of the skiff's rod tubes have large hand-finished holes flush to the bulkheads. Hand finishing the holes so that the edge of the tubes are flush with the bulkhead allows the rod tip to be brushed from side to side to hit the hole from where you stand. If the tube is not flush with the bulkhead the rod must be started at the hole by hand, which is very difficult and often requires the angler to put down the rod and walk forward to manually insert the tip. Having to put the tip in at the hole by hand "10 or more times a day" is a waste of the angler's fishing time.

The baitwell/release well/dry storage compartment is 34 inches long and will easily accommodate two large bonefish or redfish, and the 30-gallon capacity will allow it to hold a large volume of bait. Because all of the molds were precisely cut on a 5-axis computer controlled router, the skiff's hatches fit very tight – making for a better waterproof seal.

The cockpit has a huge centerline aft drain leading to the sump that accommodates an 1100 GPH. bilge pump: This is the fastest way to quickly empty a cockpit of a large volume of water.

The lightweight hatches have a stainless steel Gemlux positive tension latch. This snap latch requires no twisting to lock the hatches down, just a push down and they snap closed. All hatches come with a layer of 12,000-strand carbon fiber, clear coated for U.V. protection and extra strength (Legacy only). Chittum Skiffs does not use inner liners in its hulls. These are the boxes that other skiff builders commonly use, seen under the hatches that take up valuable space. They are cheap to make and install and add unnecessary weight. They are usually stuck down with poured in foam to hold it to the bottom of the hull; this is not the preferred way to build a quality boat. We would rather not hide poor craftsmanship with these liners. Instead, we spend more time finishing the entire interior. In the end, the savings on weight and the extra room are well worth it.

The seat and hatch cushions are custom made from 1.5 inch Ensolite closed cell foam with a UV resistant vinyl and are completely seamless with no zippers. A heavy-duty nylon mesh is laminated in to the cushion for protection from being cut or punctured. These cushions do not absorb water and last up to ten years.

On Legacy models, the entire skiff is painted with Dupont Marine Finish. This is considerably more expensive and time consuming than gel-coat, but the benefits are worth it. Many of the world’s finest yachts, aircraft and show cars are painted with Imron. This paint is much more stain resistant then gel-coat, is easier to clean, saves weight and does not fade like gel-coat. We can also match any color.

We developed the custom trailer for this ultra-light skiff over several years of trial and error. It is constructed of aluminum and stainless steel, with a built in extra wide walk board, 3 aluminum mag wheels and all LCD lights. This trailer is built to perfectly fit this skiff and allows the ease of launch and retrieval without ever touching the wheels to the water.



SPRAY RAIL ATTACHMENT TO DECK - The spray rail was attached to the deck and angled to maximize dryness. It is optimized to allow the greatest amount of volume while capturing and controlling the water that comes off the hull sides.

RADIUS TRANSOM - A radius was added to the transom to allow the energy of the rear waves that overtake the boat to be dissipated so as to not send out rebound waves that may spook fish. It also helps the skiff spin easier and cleaner, and adds to overall aesthetics.

AFT UPPER CHINE - This is the same chine found in all hard-chine skiffs for efficiency in planing.

FORWARD LOWER CHINE - The chine was located so that while running it still has the effectiveness of a normal hard chine, but while at rest within a poling situation it is well below the waterline. Its location was optimized by positioning it as high up the hull side as possible while still maintaining a quiet poling position.

STRAKES - Strakes were added to reduce wetted surface area while running, provide directional stability while running and poling, and controlling “slip” while turning at speed.

LIVEWELL PICKUP - The pickup for the livewell was given a unique shape. There is also a pocket that allows the fitting to be flush with the bottom of the hull. A boss was added to the back half of the pocket to create positive pressure in way of the fitting so that there is less of a chance of the live well pump getting air-locked. It is also positioned to counter the prop torque.

TRIM TAB POCKETS - Trim tabs pockets are recesses that allows the trim tabs to be parallel with the centerline while on the radius transom.

TRIM TABS - The trim tabs are positioned to add to the stability of the vessel by slowing down the transverse rotation.

CAMBERED DECK - Camber was added to the deck to maximize stiffness, add to aesthetics and to allow any water that comes onto the deck to run off to the outboard.