Inflatable Dock

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LordElsinore
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Inflatable Dock

Post by LordElsinore »

OK, OK, I know this was a bit of a splurge but it's worked well so I have to share. For Father's day, I told the wife and kids that they were getting me this:

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It is a 28 foot inflatable dock made in the same way that inflatable stand-up paddleboards are made so it can be inflated to pressure and becomes very stiff

Traditionally, when As You Wish is in the water at night in the lake where I sail, I anchor her off the shore where I can see her from our cabin window up the hill and across the highway. There's no dock or anything there and the shoreline is typically cluttered with driftwood and dead trees that float down the river into the reservoir, so beaching the boat has never been something I've been keen to do. Anchoring is fine (love my Rocna!), but wading out and climbing aboard in the morning is not my favorite thing and it makes it even harder than usual for anyone to want to go out on the boat with me - even the dog!

So I figured this would let me tie the boat alongside and give me, passengers, and the dog an easier boarding option using the side boarding ladder. This inflatable has 10 handle-like loops running down the sides. I hammer in 5 foot lengths of 3/4" electrical conduit pipe into the mud and cover them up with 1 inch PVC pipe with a cap on top. There are metal tie-off rings on the top next to each handle, and that's what I use to secure the boat. Other water toys like the SeaDoo can attach on the other side too.

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We get some pretty strong winds up here and whitecaps on the lake, but I've been impressed with how well this holds. I still have the anchor out as well just in case something comes loose, but so far so good.

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I envy you guys with slips, but perhaps this is the next best thing. As a bonus, it's completely portable, inflates with a battery powered compressor, and I can set it up anywhere I go. It's pretty great to lay on or slide on too and even supports camping chairs. Most of the inflatable docks like this you can find online are in the shape of a "Y", intended for a boat to park in the notch of the "Y" with people boarding/unboarding from the bow. I didn't feel that was a good option with the Mac, so I eventually found this long, straight one. So far, I like it.
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LordElsinore
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Re: Inflatable Dock

Post by LordElsinore »

Update: Predictably, I can't recommend doing what I described in very windy conditions. Within minutes of making this post last night we had some wind come through such as I've never seen here. Had a last night game of "Follow that anchor light!" and an unexpected nighttime cruise back. Everything is fine, everyone is safe, and the boat is firmly anchored again out away from shore.

Tying up like that is probably ok for something small like the jet ski, but I should have known better than leaving a big boat like ours tied to it.

How about you guys? Any stories about having your boats blown away and needing to chase them down? This is the second time it's happened to me. You'd think I'd learn by now.
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Russ
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Re: Inflatable Dock

Post by Russ »

Looking at that photo of so much open water, I had a bad feeling. With storms and winds, I would believe you get some big waves and that dock looks like it would take a beating.
Yea, I wouldn't sleep well with that. Heck, even a proper dock would probably not fair well. Folks on our lake with any kind of exposed to the open lake dock seem to pull their boats out. Just waves from other boats will give it a beating.

Our marina is super well protected on all sides, however across the lake the other "sailboat" marina is exposed and when storms come up, I see sailboats bobbing like wild broncos in their slips.

Coastal boaters don't understand how big waves and winds can get on mountain lakes, especially with summer T-Storms.

Seems maybe a dinghy is in order to keep from wading out to the boat at anchor. And even at anchor with your rockna, I'd lose sleep.
There are some anchor alarm apps that work in tandem with another cell phone so you can leave one onboard and alert another shoreside phone to anchor dragging.

Honestly, the only way I would sleep is if the boat were moored with a helix mooring and proper swivel/chain setup.

Is there a way you could "beach" it and tie the boat to some kind of anchoring on shore? Doesn't solve the hard to board from the bow problem.

Dang...your first post looked so cool. Sorry it's not working out.

BTW, love the name of the boat. You need one of these. Especially when playing the Pirates of the Caribbean music.

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--Russ
C Buchs
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Re: Inflatable Dock

Post by C Buchs »

I think your setup is great for the day when you're around to react to changing weather. When we camp, we drop a bow anchor and stern tie to the shore. When it's time for bed, we let out some stern line and pull up the bow line until we are safely away from the shore. You could do this and then use your dock as a ferry and pull yourself along with the stern line.

We have a smaller version of that dock. It's a lot of fun playing "king of the dock" in the middle of the water. We also anchor in ankle to knee-deep water and the dogs like it as a place to take a break out of the water.

Jeff
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LordElsinore
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Re: Inflatable Dock

Post by LordElsinore »

Thanks for the suggestions guys. I do have my original folding fluke-style anchor that sits in the locker unused and a big extra line for it. I should try bow+stern anchoring with it this afternoon.

Russ, love the shirt. I will have to get me one of those!
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Russ
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Re: Inflatable Dock

Post by Russ »

--Russ
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LordElsinore
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Re: Inflatable Dock

Post by LordElsinore »

..or maybe I'll get a big decal with that mask, mustache and swords to put next to the name on the boat. That could be cool
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LordElsinore
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Re: Inflatable Dock

Post by LordElsinore »

Well, I did the bow anchor plus stern anchor today and that seems to work nicely. Thanks again for the suggestion. Will see how to goes for the rest of the week. If nothing else, I like putting unused equipment to use
OverEasy
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Re: Inflatable Dock

Post by OverEasy »

Hi All!

Nice dockish thingy! Cool!

First thought….
Just a couple of thoughts on floating dock securement…waves or no waves…
Maybe treat it like a vessel..🤔
“Anchor” the dock at the four corners.. two fwd & two aft diagonally at roughly 45 degrees outward.
Doing this with 80-160 lb concrete blocks (~2 bags of concrete) with iron loops and SST shackles that you can undo in deep enough water so there is no risk to the boat when traveling over them. Route the the vessel tie lines up from the shackles to the dock loop then to the boat. That way the block drag should keep the boat in place and the dock close to the boat and relatively stable without reliance on the low stability electrical conduit in mud.

The second thought is rigging a tram line ….
Set a block similar to the ones above out far enough for the boat to be safe.
Take a line that with a floating line long enough to reach from the bow cleat down to a nice float on the water with several feet of slack. Then from the float run the line down to the block shackle through a pulley (that is attached to the block shackle) and then back to shore. From there a 2nd block would be on shore (or a suitable VERY solid alternate) with another pulley attached at the shackle.
The line routes through the pulley and out to a 2nd float with several feet of slack to the stern cleat.
The line then runs fwd outside the stantions and lifelines and connects to the line at the bow (effectively forming a loop).
A 2nd floating line (preferably of a different color or marking is run from the fwd block shackle to the bow with an intermediate float (of a different color/shape than on the first (primary loop) line and back to the aft shore block shackle. This second line is your “pulling line” which is how when you are on the boat you can get to shore or out to deeper water ( the bow is always facing out to the open water as that is the primary direction wind & waves come from.

To operate this system one ties the boat on to the “primary loop” line at the fwd and aft cleats.

Then one uses the pulling line at the aft of the boat to pull the boat to shore with the “primary loop” line moving through the pulleys.
Once off the boat one then uses the “primary loop” line to move the boat out to deeper water close to the fwd block with enough scope, or length, to that fwd block ( NOT straight up/down) at a 60 degree angle.
The “primary loop” line is then tied off securely to the shore block loop.

Then to get onto the boat one un does the “primary loop” line from the shore block loop.
One the pulls on the aft end of the “primary loop” line to pull the boat to shore with the “primary loop” line runs through the pulleys as the boat moves to shore.
After boarding the boat one uses the “pulling line” to move the boat back out to deep water.
One can then carefully lower the engine or make ready to sail, untie from the “primary loop” line and the “pulling line”, and move off to enjoy the lake.

Upon return one snags the fwd portion of the “pulling line” to the bow cleat then to the aft cleat.
Then tie the “primary loop” fwd portion to the bow cleat and the aft portion to the aft cleat.

It’s simpler to do than to describe.

The third thought is sort of a combination of the two thoughts above….
First rig the tram line (2nd thought) then set up the inflatable (sort of like the 1st thought) but without the tie lines.
When you have the boat pulled to shore one then goes on the dock and uses an extendable boat hook to snag the boat to pull it to the dock.
Secure to the dock as desired for boarding.
Moving out while on board is the same as with the tram line (2nd thought).
Coming in while on board is the same except instead of going to shore one is going to the dock (temporarily) and eventually once on shore (& untied from the dock) one moves the boat out (as described in the 2nd thought)

Again easier to do than to describe….

Everything is clear as mud right? :D :D :D

Just a couple of thoughts to share.

Best Regards
Over Easy 😎😎🐩🐈
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LordElsinore
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Re: Inflatable Dock

Post by LordElsinore »

Ha, thanks OverEasy! That tram line sounds pretty awesome. I'll have to draw it out on paper, but it sounds great. It's kind of what I've been manually doing the past couple of days manually adjusting the bow anchor line and stern anchor lines to get it moved parallel to the inflatable dock so the family can get on and off without having to get wet. Last night they came on and we went motored over across to the wyoming side of the lake where everyone sets off the massive fireworks that are legal there. It was almost of 360 degree of fireworks around us in surround sound. It was hard to know where to look, there were so many different groups going off. It was a great time.

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I didn't take any great pictures, but I figured I'd share the one I did have :D

For those in the U.S, I hope you all had a fun and safe July 4th. Apparently a small plane crashed into the reservoir here yesterday (there is a small plane airport right near it, so there are always little planes and jets flying overhead).

https://www.kmvt.com/2024/07/05/plane-c ... -resevoir/

I was on the water at the time but didn't see it since I was at the other end.

Here's another story about it, using a 'stock photo' of the reservoir (obviously not from yesterday because currently the reservoir is FULL and this photo shows the water 40-50+ feet lower). If you look at the photo, I'm pretty sure that's my boat :macm: :D, but hard to tell...

https://buckrail.com/small-plane-crashe ... reservoir/
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Russ
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Re: Inflatable Dock

Post by Russ »

Story " Witnesses reported that two planes had been performing aerial tricks over the water when one plane crashed into the reservoir. "

Probably explains why the pilot didn't survive. I imagine it hit hard and wasn't a soft emergency landing.

Beautiful pic. Beautiful boat in the middle of the photo.
--Russ
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LordElsinore
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Re: Inflatable Dock

Post by LordElsinore »

oh wow! Hadn't seen the updated headline. That means in that same day in that same place I saw people doing stupid things in cars, motorcycles, boats AND planes. That is a sad outcome.

Mostly I've seen people that fly there leave the trick flying to the military jets that sometimes practice there (they were flying formations all week long probably practicing for a 4th of July show somewhere).

Last year I think someone tried a water landing in a small plane there that wasn't outfitted for a water landing, thinking somehow it would magically float / keep water out. That one didn't end well either, but at least the guy survived
OverEasy
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Re: Inflatable Dock

Post by OverEasy »

Hi LordElsinor!

You don’t have a monopoly on the stupid stuff crowd.
Down in our area of SC they have it as a competitive sport! 🫣🤪🙄 :D :D :wink: :| 8)
The season flag drop starts on Memorial Day, sprints to 4th of July and races downhill to Labor Day.
Weekends are the peak competition days but there’s always someone trying to score midweek bonus points. :| :o :D :D

Best Regards,
Over Easy 😎😎🐩🐈
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LordElsinore
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Re: Inflatable Dock

Post by LordElsinore »

Russ wrote: Tue Jul 02, 2024 6:25 am BTW, love the name of the boat. You need one of these. Especially when playing the Pirates of the Caribbean music.

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Russ, look at what you made me do!

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These 10 inch decals are going on the boat just aft of the name when I'm up there again in a couple of weeks :D

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Russ
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Re: Inflatable Dock

Post by Russ »

LordElsinore wrote: Tue Jul 09, 2024 6:25 pm
Russ, look at what you made me do!

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These 10 inch decals are going on the boat just aft of the name when I'm up there again in a couple of weeks :D

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Love it.

I'm thinking I need a decal for Luna Azul.

Where did you get it?
--Russ
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