Homemade Mooring Barge

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by TJ I. setnom, Jan 4, 2019.

  1. TJ I. setnom
    Joined: Jan 2019
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    Location: Nantucket Sound, MA

    TJ I. setnom New Member

    So I have been asked several times by friends and fellow boaters to assist with their mooring maintenance and/or seasonal removal. This season alone I did 22 mooring wintersticks not including my own 3. The heaviest being a 4,000lb block that I actually dove on and swapped out chain. Many of the owners pay me $100 bucks and it is what it is.

    As a builder/carpenter/GC by trade I’m looking into building a “barge” that will make handling/hauling chain, buoys and even maybe haul some of the 250lb-500lb mushrooms. When not handling moorings I can use it to do some dock work and light marine construction nothing to big just little repair jobs. Where I live and work their are countless docks and potential clients and maybe 3 or 4 active marine carpenters or mooring haulers.

    What I have in mind is 8-10’ beam(I understand will be difficult to over the road transport) by 26-30’ length. Maybe a small enclosed helm station since I would be operating in all 4 seasons. Just quick research indicates an A-frame style hoisting point with a roll bar? Thoughts? Electric or hydraulic deck mounted winch and a moon hole or right off the front of the barge.

    Also not sure of the material to use for the hull. I know I want it to be a self bailing hull with a real shallow draft, able to not only haul out 1000pounders maybe more with break out force but also carry the weight. Conflicted on weather marine grade ply with glass is the way to go or start experimenting with paints and sealers.

    Any help and insight you guys have is greatly appreciated. I have included some of the barges I have seen.

    Attached Files:

  2. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    A common setup is a barge with a hole in the middle. You can pick up the weights without creating stability problems. There is an arch over the hole with a winch or chainfall.
    waikikin likes this.
  3. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Tasmania,Australia

    rwatson Senior Member

    Have you considered steel ?
    There is no way I would use Plywood without Glass/Epoxy over. It just wouldn't make sense to shorten its life after all that work.
  4. TJ I. setnom
    Joined: Jan 2019
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    Location: Nantucket Sound, MA

    TJ I. setnom New Member

    I have thought about steel or aluminum, I’m just cautious because all my experience has been with wood. I Don’t know who would custom make a steel barge or cost compared to wood builds.
  5. Waterwitch
    Joined: Oct 2012
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    Location: North East USA

    Waterwitch Senior Member

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  6. waikikin
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    waikikin Senior Member

    This is the simplest option with the most buoyancy/lift for material to construct. Also a boatshed near me used to have a mooring pontoon that was a very simple pair of boxes that used a steel pyramid as the lift gantry and connective structure- pretty sure it lasted nearly 20 years built of cheap A bond ply with some layers of chop strand mat over. They'd push it around with one of their hire boats.
  7. Magnus W
    Joined: Nov 2017
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    Location: Sweden

    Magnus W Senior Member

    From my own experience with barges the greater mass they have in relation to the load they are carrying the better they work. Stability is better and draft in loaded vs unloaded changes little (and believe me the latter is a big deal). Since I assume you'll be operating in low speeds mass won't have a big impact on the force needed to push it. So I say steel – easy to work with, easy and fast to maintain and repair, sturdy.
  8. fredrosse
    Joined: Jan 2005
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    Location: Philadelphia PA

    fredrosse USACE Steam

    Two pontoons, 36 inch dia x 0.250 wall steel, 25 feet long, 11,000 pounds buoyancy @ 18 inch draft
    Hull weight, pontoons and structure, around 7000 pounds, leaving 4000 pounds for wheelhouse, machinery, plus lifting whatever.

    A rectangular barge would be more compact, but building a pontoon barge with steel pipe 25 ft long x 12 ft beam, would be far less labor intensive. A reasonably skilled person can pick up arc welding to an acceptable strength level fairly quickly. If I were building such a barge I would make it in two pieces, to be bolted together after transport to the launch site. Surplus metal yards around me have the material, at about $0.50 per pound.

  9. Colin A
    Joined: Sep 2019
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    Location: USA

    Colin A New Member

    Simplest I have seen was a square dock float 15' x 15' with a 3x3' hole in the middle with a frame across it and a chain fall. This was at a small yacht club. For your situation a boatyard in CT had an interesting setup. It was 4 off the shelf plastic pontoons with a wood deck of 2x6 over the top. The center had a 4'x4' hole between the pontoons. The area around the hole was multiple pieces of dimensional lumbers laminated together. Above the hole was a gallows of galvanized steel tubing. The had a electric winch for most moorings but a chainfall was clipped on for certain situations. It had a 90 hp outboard on the back and a console in the form of box made of plywood. They used it for at least a dozen years that way. Found a picture of an early version. http://www.noankvillageboatyard.com/history/70_2.jpg
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