Usable design elements are in plain sight within other designs. Plunder away!
Pine is a worthwhile wood for carving: It's readily available in a variety of species; many times, it will be the economical choice of wood, and with sharp tools can yield a rewarding carving experience.
The great martial artist Miyamoto Mushasi said that from one thing, we could learn a thousand things. Mix things up. Learn something new from something old.
A little carving can be a good thing for a boat.
Sometimes dreams are surreal...