The coracle is an ancient boat (often used for fishing) dating back to at least the Roman invasion of Britain Like the currach (or curragh), the coracle is relatively simple in its construction. These small one person vessels are in essence, a large basket made of either a bent lath or round wood frame covered with a skin. Traditionally, the skin would have likely been hide but in more recent adaptations, calico is used and then waterproofed. The craft are paddled with a single long wooden paddle in a figure eight motion. A little tricky to learn and balance in, they are actually quite agile as well as easy to carry.
There are various regional coracle styles. This video presents construction of an Ironbridge coracle. I couldn’t catch where the presenter noted the waterproofing on the boat, so here’s a recipe I found. Combine 43 ounces boiled linseed oil, 21 ounces paint thinner, 34 ounces porch and deck enamel, 2 ounces of Japan drier, 6.5 pounds silica, and 2 ounces of spar varnish. Apply two coats, let dry and then apply two coats of oil based deck paint.
And remember, “There is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”