Raft down the Mississippi

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by qwist04, Jan 18, 2005.

  1. mydauphin
    Joined: Apr 2007
    Posts: 2,164
    Likes: 53, Points: 48, Legacy Rep: 575
    Location: Florida

    mydauphin Senior Member

    Buy a pontoon boat with a motor. YOu think your on a raft, but it offers stabilty, power, perhaps a head. You can get some used ones fairly cheap and just hang an old little outboard. But remembers the Miss is full of barges some 1000 ft long being pushed by big towboats that make alot of wash.
    Be safe, have fun... Need a father figure to come along....
     
  2. djwkd
    Joined: Jul 2006
    Posts: 380
    Likes: 2, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 51
    Location: Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

    djwkd Senior Member

    The problem with that,however is that A)Your then BUYING a boat and with it skipping the fun of building one and
    B)Its a boat-these can sunk much easier than a boat So long as the raft hull is partioned inside for the floatation.If you are using spray-foam there is no need to do that.
     
  3. Atirra
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Winona

    Atirra New Member

    Halp with going down the river

    Me and five of my friends are wanting to build a craft of one sort or another and take it from Winona down somewhere near the end of the Mississippi. We don't have a whole lot of experience, however, and I don't know exactly what the best kind of boat would be to make. We were thinking about a raft 30 by 15 feet floating on a lot of barrels with little cabins for sleeping and what not. Does anyone have any suggestions or anything as to how to make this work nicely? And yes, I know we're insane.
     
  4. plexique
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 1
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: New York

    plexique New Member

    Built a raft and floated it down Tennessee Oct. 07

    This forum was most useful when we set out to build a raft to go down the Tennessee, so I wanted to share our experience. It took about 2 days to pick up supplies, and about 20-30 hours of work overall to build, with 2-3 people working. The building of and the floating of can be seen at http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=17953&id=791868831

    RAFT MATERIALS:
    - 8x13 ft platform of throw-away pine slabs - they were being burned at a timber yard and we got them for free. Not very even, but since one of the surfaces is flat, it did just fine. Surprisingly strong, even at about 1-in thickness supported our weight because of the supports underneath. Supporting it was 6 2x4s running cross-wise, every 29 in. We used screws instead of nails for precision and sturdiness.

    - They ran 29 in apart so that we could save weight and time in constructing something to hold the 10 plastic 30-gallon drums - each one went between the support 2x4s, and went a little higher still because we left about 5 in slits between the very side boards on each side. This meant we didn't have to built a casing or cage for the barrels - they went right up and stayed there, and all we did was tie them to the raft with 150-lb strength nylon clothsline. 10x30 gallons gave us 300 gallons - by estimates, but not by calculation, enough to float up to 1200 lbs at about half-submersion, which proved to be correct. The raft weight 500-600lbs, and held 3 people and gear easily. The design was such that if one of the barrels took on water, we could untie its rope and take it off right on the water and empty and/or seal it up without taking out others. We estimated that 7-8 barrels would keep the floorboards above water entirely, also proved correct.

    - We opted not to build a sail as that would have required boat registration, so instead we took one of those kids' four-wheel pedaled toy cars and converted the whole thing into both a paddling system and a rudder system.

    - with side boards going up 4.5 ft roughly in the middle of the raft we built a small bracket for our tarp lean-to that could go toward the front or the back or both - it rained every night and if we also tarped up the side where the wind was blowing the rain it, we stayed absolutely dry. we never slept on dry land because it was that comfortable

    FLOATING DOWN TENNESSEE

    is practically impossible - the current is very slow and the headwinds always push you back. it would have been easier to float upstream, as we found out trying to make it ontime to a small park to hand off the raft. with the paddle system and the oars we made about 4 miles a day max, although we didn't work too hard.

    WHAT WE WISH WE HAD

    a fire pit. a simple deep wok or a shallow metal drum would have done the job. and some low collapsible chairs - would have helped with paddling and made it more comfortable.

    WHAT YOU'LL NEED IN ADDITION

    Regulations require life vests, and a white light and the green/red lights ($25 and up for both) if you wish to float at night (good idea to have anyway), and at least 20 ft rope for the docks. Strongly recommend an anchor, and a pirate flag;)

    TRANSPORTATION

    Unless you want to reassemble the raft on the river, build it to be no more than 8.5-9 ft wide - you can strap this onto a flat bed or an auto transport rentable from Uhaul and take it on the highway without getting pulled over.

    CONSIDERATIONS

    We wanted to build this as much from scrap as possible and for a week or two were on the lookout for parts - so have a plan. But don't stick to it too hard - be flexible in your design so you can work with what you have. We were not able to get any barrels donated to us, but we only spent about a week looking for them. Apparently if you have a soft drink manufacturer neaerby you can usually get their discarded ones. We found distilleries to be more stingy - Jack Daniels actually offered to sell us their barrels from the gift shop. Be aware that if you get used barrels they may have contained toxic liquids - toxic to both the river and your skin/eye. Keep it simple, and have fun - if it takes longer, so be it.

    If you have questions, feel free to email me at plexique atthe yahoo periddot com
     

    Attached Files:

  5. Atirra
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Winona

    Atirra New Member

    Do you have any suggestions for attaching a motor? We were hoping to maybe even try and get an electric one and solar panels.
     
  6. quist
    Joined: Sep 2007
    Posts: 8
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: St louis, MO

    quist Junior Member

    Look out behind you

    I have done a bit of canoeing and kayaking on the Missouri ansd Missisippi Rivers. One of the suprising things is how a barge can sneak up on you. Another surprise is how big there wake is.
    I attached a review mirror from a semi truck to my canoe so I can glance back continously to see what might be bearing down on me.
    I can be a furious struggle getting to the shore befor a barge gets to you.
     
  7. rafter
    Joined: Jun 2006
    Posts: 14
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Minnesota

    rafter Junior Member

    I agree

    The dangers get even more once you pass Baton Rouge and head towards NOLA as now you are dealing with quieter and faster ships (ocean going ships) that travel at 12 knots vs 3-5 knots. I had a rearview mirror and it worked pretty well. YOu wouldnt believe this, but just the effort of turning your head gets to be too much after a while.
     
  8. djwkd
    Joined: Jul 2006
    Posts: 380
    Likes: 2, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 51
    Location: Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

    djwkd Senior Member

    Hey-did rafter ever post any plans of his raft on here???
     
  9. djwkd
    Joined: Jul 2006
    Posts: 380
    Likes: 2, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 51
    Location: Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

    djwkd Senior Member

    Come on-let this thread rise it's head again!!!Ready for Qwist's 09 trip!!!Shake a leg!!!!LOL
     
  10. djwkd
    Joined: Jul 2006
    Posts: 380
    Likes: 2, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 51
    Location: Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

    djwkd Senior Member

    @Plexique-Facebook link isn't working.
     
  11. djwkd
    Joined: Jul 2006
    Posts: 380
    Likes: 2, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 51
    Location: Newcastle-Upon-Tyne

    djwkd Senior Member

    Ah-you haven't been on since you posted that.
     
  12. jrob
    Joined: Apr 2008
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Bemidji, MN

    jrob New Member

    Would a flat-bottomed scow be a suitable craft for traversing this river? Or would the 'deck' not have enough clearance from the water? I'm concerned about mainly about waves coming over the side.
     
  13. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
    Posts: 5,875
    Likes: 311, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 1749
    Location: Tasmania,Australia

    rwatson Senior Member

    It depends on how high the deck is from the water - whats the "standard height" of a flat bottom socw?
     
  14. jrob
    Joined: Apr 2008
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Bemidji, MN

    jrob New Member

    The scows that I have seen around here are usually around 2 feet high.
     

  15. Raftman1979
    Joined: Oct 2008
    Posts: 33
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Peotone, IL

    Raftman1979 Junior Member

    One of the most important things you'll need is propulsion. Paddles won't do it unless your "raft" is nothing more than a couple of canoes tied together. If you can't paddle it fast enough to get out of the way of the barges when you need to, you'll wind up in a dangerous place QUICKLY.

    DO bring an outboard motor, but you don't have to run it all the time. Make sure it's a good runner that'll start up cold with no hassles, and have a good trolling motor for standby. When you must get out of the way of a barge, have someone get the trolling motor going immediately, while you're starting the outboard. That way in case you have trouble starting the outboard, you're not totally screwed.

    Get navigational charts from the Army Corps of Engineers and don't be without them. And do lots of online research first too, before you even start building the raft. Study other peoples' trips, other people's raft designs, and most importantly, study the river. Research locks and dams, wing dams, the Chain of Rocks bypass canal near St. Louis, etc.
     
Loading...
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.