Boat with built in trailer

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by HarryN, May 19, 2008.

  1. HarryN
    Joined: May 2008
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    Location: CA

    HarryN Junior Member

    Hi, new member = thanks for putting this forum together.

    My reason for joining, is actually for my father. His background:

    - Lives in N OH, likes to fish on small / calm lakes and driking water resevoirs
    - 82 years old
    - Walks with help from a walker (broke his hip a few years ago)
    - Has a 40 year old Grumman Al "sport canoe" - sort of a hybrid between a canoe and a row boat. - so it has a flat stern and sort of a fat canoe like shape. Approx 13 - 15 ft long.
    - The places he goes mostly are electric motor only and relatively calm water. (usually less than 1 mile square)

    He can no longer use the boat, mostly because he cannot deal with getting it on and off of the trailer. I live in CA, so he is mostly stuck fishing from shore.

    I had the crazy idea that if I could find a new boat for him that had an "integrated, self propelled trailer" The idea, is that he could tow it from home and park at the trailer parking area. He would then drive the boat / trailer combo the short distance up to the ramp, and then go right into the water. I am not sure if this is practical or even legally possible.

    I did some on - line searches for amphibious craft, and they seem to be all gas powered, and not really able to be towed. The Gibbs products look interesting, but way to expensive for our budget, and of course, not battery operated. ( potatoes, not steak)

    I am toying with the idea of building something like this, but frankly, would rather buy if I can for many reasons. I could really use some suggestions on where to look.

  2. snoman774
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    Location: arkansas

    snoman774 Junior Member

  3. snoman774
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    Location: arkansas

    snoman774 Junior Member

    sorry thats not electric power dont know the price range but maybe something similar could be built to fit what you need.
  4. TeddyDiver
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    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

  5. HarryN
    Joined: May 2008
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    Location: CA

    HarryN Junior Member

    Hi - Thanks for the links. That setup is getting pretty close - a few more parts and electric motors and it just might work.

    That trailer boat is a pretty clean setup, and might even work for him to take his wheel chair bound friends.


  6. brysten
    Joined: May 2008
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    Location: canada

    brysten New Member

    Check out, we build the Float Trailer. Seeing as we are the manufacturer we can customize the boat to suit anyones needs.. It's an amazing product that is perfect for the outdoorsman no matter what their situation is. Call (519) 659-9555 and ask for Bryan...I can answer all your Float Trailer questions
  7. Fanie
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Colonial "Sick Africa"

    Fanie Fanie

    Hi Harry,

    What your grand dad needs is a couple of wild bikini chicks to assist him on these trips... He'll bring home double the fish he usually gets, and he'll go fishing twice as often :D My grand dad was also 80-something and he was still ready to go hang out in the disco's :D

    You should go with him when you can. There's something about them that stays with you long after they've gone...
  8. snoman774
    Joined: May 2008
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    Location: arkansas

    snoman774 Junior Member

    icoulndnt agree more but i think he said hes in ca and dad's in oh that makes it kinda tough.
  9. HarryN
    Joined: May 2008
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    Location: CA

    HarryN Junior Member

    Hi, yes, that is right - my Dad is in OH, and I am in CA, so about a 3,000 KM trip each way to go fishing. We do it, but not too often.
  10. lewisboats
    Joined: Oct 2002
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    Location: Iowa

    lewisboats Obsessed Member

    Sounds to me like you want a boat with trailer bits that fold up and out of the way when it is in the water. Look at the boat as a chassis, with the hitch attached to the breasthook and shaped kinda like a goose neck that ends with an actual hitch. Hinge it to fold up when on the water. Make your wheel and suspension assemblies the same way, fold up. Integrate the taillights into the transom or have some clamp on ones. Build the boat extra sturdy to handle the abuse and don't drive too fast.

  11. AMFBoats
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    AMFBoats Senior Member

  12. snoman774
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    Location: arkansas

    snoman774 Junior Member

    there you go harry there is a plan just put it on a flat utility trailer.
    hang your handicapped sticker on the mirror and park close to the ramp.
    still not electric though.
    could your dad get some kind of waiver from the game and fish because of his condition on the electric.
  13. dragonjbynight
    Joined: Apr 2008
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    Location: Indiana

    dragonjbynight Senior Member me crazy, Mount four bicycle wheels on the canoe, with a quick release or even on a hinge deal that they could be pulled off or folded over the top of the boat once in the water, would prolly use a utility trailer, but with a winch, would make loading and unloading in the parking lot a breeze, the bycicle tires would make it very easy to move and keep the whole project light. Steering would be a lil tricky, haven't worked that part out in my head yet. just an idea anyway.
  14. HarryN
    Joined: May 2008
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    Location: CA

    HarryN Junior Member

    Thank you for all of the suggestions.

    I had out of town business guests in this week, and next week I will be in OR, so sorry for the delayed reply. I still need to call the Admiral Boat people.

    It is probably useful to tell a little more about the place he wants to go fishing near his house. It adds a bit to the challenge:

    a) It is a drinking water reservoir - the electric only rule is hard and fast

    b) These types of reservoirs were built on very flat ground by digging down for depth, and making tall walls from the dirt. This is very efficient, but the parking is all still at the original ground level.

    c) If you want to launch a boat, you drive up a fairly decent ramp (around 20 - 30 ft high), then down the other side to laucn. After launch, you drive back down to the parking lot, then climb back up stieps, then down the ramp to get to the boat.

    This kind of climb is very difficult for my father, so many trips are out of the question.

    d) The boat must be towed at highway (60 mph) speeds at leat part of the way. It also needs to be really easy to hook up to his van, and reasonably sized - he does not have large storage areas.

    So looking at the ideas so far

    a) Sealegs.
    - It is an interesting design for someone with a cottage near a lake, and just needs an easy way to go a short distance without an extra car. (might be great for the kids)
    - Gas powered. If the issue were just fish and game, a waiver might be a go, but for a drinking water setup, probably not in his lifetime. With the short range needed, maybe Sealegs would build an electric driver version.
    - Towing it with Another trailer to the site. Maybe. This is not exactly what I had hoped for, as now he still has to deal with loading / unloading a boat from a trailer, but this is a possibility.

    b) Helpers
    - My Dad is not exactly a swinger, but he does hire help around the house for various house hold chores.
    - Maybe this is worth some more thought. It definitely is the fastest and cheapest solution. Seems kind of crazy to hire someone to take you Dad fishing, but maybe that is a good path. I was thinking about this whole thing from a " he can do it himself" viewpoint, but after all, he is disabled and in his 80s.

    c) Adding Wheel like setups
    - The boat originally was used a kind of "hang on bicycle wheel" apporach - might have been home made.
    - He went to a small trailer because it was easier to handle
    - The boat is very small and shallow, so not much room for extra stuff hanging around

    d) Float Trailer
    - This has some real potential.
    - What I particularly like, is the ramp load. This would be good for someone who cannot raise their legs very much, or in a few years when he is in a wheel chair.
    - A few refinements would be needed of course

    a) It would need electric powered wheels to take it up the hill from the parking lot and right into the water
    b) 2 more wheels added for steering / balance / raise lower to get the trailer attached to the hitch.
    c) Electric or eq. motors to operate the ramp, hitch and wheel raise / lower
    d) Chairs and storage
    e) Electric Driven trolling motors and enough power for all of that stuff plus a back up battery so he does not get stuck on the lake.

    It almost seems like if the ramp were also the hitch, that would be helpful, as then you would not need to keep turning the boat around so much to get in and out, but that is secondary to the big picture.

    I am not sure how large the market is for a "handicap accessible fishing boat / trailer setup for electric only drinking reservoirs", but maybe it is big enough for a nitch player to think about.

  15. kengrome
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    Location: Gulf Coast USA

    kengrome Senior Member


    I think the question here comes down to whether or not your father still wants to (and still can) use the same boat and trailer he already owns *if* someone or something were able to help him get it on and off the trailer?

    If he can still drive and tow a trailer and back the truck/trailer to the water himself, maybe all that's needed to launch the boat is some UHMW plastic strips installed on the trailer so the boat slips on and off it more easily -- and a good electric winch to pull the boat onto the trailer when it's time to go home. For transporting your father up and down those 30 foot tall ramps over the reservoir wall, a separate personal electric mobility cart might work, then he wouldn't have to walk/climb up and over those reservoir walls on his own.

    On the other hand, maybe what he really needs -- and what you really prefer to give him -- is a specially designed boat that rolls up and down those ramps with him inside ...

    The SeaLegs concept would work, but the Sealegs boat itself is overkill and clearly not appropriate for the kind of use you have in mind. Here's another possibility ...

    I designed a small boat for another guy who was talking about powering it with electric motors and augers (with foot-controls for hands free operation) but he's not interested in the hull design so it is available for other purposes. I think the hull concept might be ideal here if it were adjusted a bit to accommodate wheels instead of augers -- so it could propel itself up and down those long ramps you described.

    Here's what I mean:

    Let's say your father has an amphibious boat that rides to the reservoir on a tilting flatbed trailer. When he gets there, he tilts the flatbed down, then he gets into the boat and drives it off the trailer ... and all the way to the water where he just keeps on driving until he is afloat. Then when he is done fishing he simply drives the boat to the ramp, and continues up the ramp then down to the parking lot and back onto the trailer again ... :)

    Here's my post from another thread with pictures of the boat I'm thinking about. JUst click the thumbnail images for full sized pictures:

    There are quite a few details about the boat design on that page too, but the main thing to realize is that the red cylinders (the propulsion augers) would be removed and the hull shape modified to better accommodate wheels and tires -- probably something like low pressure flotation tires of the type used on ATV's.

    What do you think? Any possibilities here?
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