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Thread: Floating Docks for Very Rough Water?

  1. #1
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    Default Floating Docks for Very Rough Water?

    I just visited a friend who owns the rarest of homes in S. F. Bay.. a house on piers in the water. They live on a lee shore. Their water access faces pretty well dead west at the mouth of the Napa River into San Pablo Bay. Mare Island really does nothing to blanket them, so the typical chop ends at their rear door.. They have a deck 2' above the "king tide" level, but want water access for their Kayaks for calm days. I was telling them that the easiest access to their boats would be via a floating dock.. but I couldn't imagine one that would survive the millions of assaults per week from the chop impacting any dock or anchoring system. This might explain why none of their 30+ neighbors seem to have anything but a barnacle encrusted ladder.

    They are in their 50's do keeping their boats suspended by falls and catching the rungs of a barnacle covered ladder at low tide to enter/ exit the small craft are not realistic.

    Anyone familiar with a system that could withstand the onslaught and still service their wants?

  2. #2
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    Default

    I could imagine something you raise with some sort of mechanical hoist. Lower it in fair conditions only. Be very seen one though. Except on the side of large motor yachts of a certain age.

    Sent from my CPH1851 using Tapatalk

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Floating Docks for Very Rough Water?

    How about a davit, a block and tackle, and a breeches bouy? Then they could lower themselves into their kayaks from the dock, or get into their kayaks on the davits and lower themselves and the kayak, as with a ship's lifeboat.

    Just kidding, of course, but that's how the Lighthouse Service solved the problem back in the day. Frankly, I don't think there's a practical solution short of serious pilings and concrete floating docks, and even then.... Familiar as I am with the area, I gotta say that's a godforsaken place to live, and on pilings, too. Developers these days will do anything for a buck. Probably the most they can do is to haul their kayaks to a more suitable launching site when conditions don't permit launching from their back deck.

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    Default Re: Floating Docks for Very Rough Water?

    Use a mechanical boat lift but with a deck on it instead of the rack.
    There's the plan, then there's what actually happens.

    Ben Sebens, RN

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    Default Re: Floating Docks for Very Rough Water?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Cleek View Post
    How about a davit, a block and tackle, and a breeches bouy? Then they could lower themselves into their kayaks from the dock, or get into their kayaks on the davits and lower themselves and the kayak, as with a ship's lifeboat.

    Just kidding, of course, but that's how the Lighthouse Service solved the problem back in the day. Frankly, I don't think there's a practical solution short of serious pilings and concrete floating docks, and even then.... Familiar as I am with the area, I gotta say that's a godforsaken place to live, and on pilings, too. Developers these days will do anything for a buck. Probably the most they can do is to haul their kayaks to a more suitable launching site when conditions don't permit launching from their back deck.
    I'm betting Bob that these houses (at least their predecessors) date way way back.. possibly prewar.

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    Default Re: Floating Docks for Very Rough Water?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Y View Post
    I could imagine something you raise with some sort of mechanical hoist. Lower it in fair conditions only. Be very seen one though. Except on the side of large motor yachts of a certain age.

    Sent from my CPH1851 using Tapatalk

    My first thought was similar in the gangways lowered from the side of ship.. the hardware and structure needed for such a system would end up blocking most of their views really look out of place for the architecture.. the house (and Property line) is probably only 25 wide.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Floating Docks for Very Rough Water?

    There's the plan, then there's what actually happens.

    Ben Sebens, RN

    15' Welsford Navigator Inconceivable
    16' W. Simmons Mattinicus double ender ​Matty

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Floating Docks for Very Rough Water?

    I dunno if these would survive the wave action, but they wouldn't block the view: https://www.boatlift.com/product/ultra-lift2/ This is just the first that popped up.

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    Default Re: Floating Docks for Very Rough Water?

    dealing with a bulkhead permitting process on my property, makes me wander about that in the first place - that may resolve what they can and can not do
    1955 Fontana 18' - 1958 Atomic 4
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    Default Re: Floating Docks for Very Rough Water?

    I'd try the hinged ramp with a very small landing attached at the bottom, set up parallel to the shoreline with an electric winch.

    I'd use HDPE floats, like this but smaller. They're indestructible.

    http://www.plasticsplusfabricating.c...tation-billets


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Floating Docks for Very Rough Water?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gib Etheridge View Post
    I'd try the hinged ramp with a very small landing attached at the bottom, set up parallel to the shoreline with an electric winch.

    I'd use HDPE floats, like this but smaller. They're indestructible.

    http://www.plasticsplusfabricating.c...tation-billets
    I think plastic floats would take the beating.. it's just any item used to anchor them (pilings, chains, hinges, etc) has to survive that rapid and constant rise and fall .. plus I forgot to include.. not make such a racket in noise to drive everyone out of house and home.. these house only have a 5' gap between them.

    The number of cycles up and down is pretty formidable compared to something in sheltered water.. it's pretty much like going to windward in a gale... forever.......

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Floating Docks for Very Rough Water?

    I have seen some stiff arm setups from the shore to the dock that allow the dock to move quite a bit without damage to the arms. You can either use the gangway as a stiff arm or not, depending on the space available, tides, etc.

    The dock itself could be light and just bounce around on the chop or very heavy so that it doesn't move al all, like an old concrete dock section. Boat lifts (as posted above) are a great option too. If it's calm enough to go out it's usually calm enough to launch your boat.

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    Default Re: Floating Docks for Very Rough Water?

    Paint the ladder with antifouling. Scrub it once in a while.

    Get a small float or raft of some sort that they can just toss in from shore,something like a rugged airmattress will do. Toss it a couple feet seaward of the ladder when you want to kayak. This has an anchors attached at each end.

    Board / get out of the kayak while it is between the ladder and the temporary float--this way each arm can push / hold on to something.

    Upon return, pull up the float and stow until next time.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Floating Docks for Very Rough Water?

    [deck 2' above the "king tide" level, but want water access for their Kayaks for calm days:]

    The approximate method that Bob Cleek outlines seems like the simplest of all: have a simple double block and tackle arrangement like many kayakers [me, too] have in their garage to lift the kayak off the roofracks, but just longer - and outriggers so that the kayak hangs over the edge of the deck or the rafters if they extend past that rear door or 2 sistered/extended joists from the deck as it is 2’ above highest tide.

    Then a fixed alum/galv ladder between the outriggers/davits that goes down to lowest water level so that it always reaches water level at all tide levels - might have to replace lowest part every 5-10 yrs due to that barnacle buildup.
    Make sure that the lines to the kayak are LOOPED AROUND the kayak [say at the 2 third points] and lower the kayak only just into the water level beside the ladder and TIE OFF the FRONT line [important].

    Climb down the ladder and step into the kayak: because the looped line has been tied off, the kayak will wish to sink but is restrained by the loop thereby stabilizing the kayak unlike if it was hung by the endloops/grabs. Hold onto the ladder while getting set up and then slip out of the front loop [push with the paddle if necessary]. If you get familiar with the approach, tying off is unimportant as you can hold the front line tightly in one hand while setting up and then loosen off after settling in the ckpt. If the same water level, remounting is just a matter of paddling betw the loops.

    The same approach can be used for remounting at steep banks or cliff and where one can throw a line over a higher obstruction, with a loop around the canoe/kayak near the occupant and then get out/in.

    In any case, it'd be a real cheap option to try out first. Floating dock mounting takes some getting used to at first, but for me, getting into kayaks from low and high floating docks is almost the cleanest, most organized, most easiest way to get going. So I think the method above using a ladder from a really high platform [I haven’t tried it from a really high initial point like this] is likely just a variation of dock procedure or loop procedure but with the advantage of having a relatively stable kayak/canoe to step into from a ladder. At first, it might make some sense to have intermittent jam cleats up the ladder to restrain the kayak by one side of the loop but with practice would be unnecessary.

    An idea anyway. It might be cheaper, easier and less obtrusive to try than other methods, you'd want a ladder anyway and the pulleys and lines are always useful for other tasks.

    **

    Just reread the OP where a ladder is ruled out. So maybe a floating rampbase, and narrow 3' ramp [maybe even counterweighted so most always up] parallel with deckedge, with the kayak suspended similar to above and then with either the loop mentioned or a horizontal waterlevel bar from the rampbase that supports the yak upon weight transfer as before. maybe a handrail at the bottom for stability if not so able-bodied. Have the bottom of the ramp easily replaceable to eliminate corrosion concerns.
    Last edited by mick allen; 02-11-2019 at 09:44 PM.
    bcmarinetrails.org - an attempt, by volunteers, to protect and enable 27,000 km of continuous camping and accesses along and around the whole Wild West Coast of British Columbia - for small beachable craft

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Floating Docks for Very Rough Water?

    The block and tackle could work but I never got it to work from my schooner. I settled on the "seal launch" well described in the article below. For getting out it it was at all rough I'd wet exit and swim to the ladder with a bow line in hand.

    Secrets Of The Seal Launch
    A SEAL LAUNCH IN A SEA KAYAK IS FUN, BUT KNOWING HOW TO DO IT SAFELY IS IMPORTANT



    WRITTEN BY ALEX MATTHEWS
    25
    The decision to use a seal launch in a sea kayak could be made because of access issues, to practice balance and brace skills or purely just for fun but it is important to keep a few things in mind.
    For a successful seal launch, one of the key ingredients is commitment. It is important to aggressively commit to hucking yourself into the water. A half-hearted attempt is usually met with far less success than one driven by a bold “bring it on” mentality. Just be sure to check the landing spot for hazards and ensure that the water is more than deep enough for the manoeuvre.
    1. Set up with your boat at the edge of the drop with the bow hanging out over space. Be sure to get in with the centre of gravity of the boat well back so that you don’t risk pitching forward unexpectedly into the water. Once in the kayak, carefully move your boat forward close to its balance point on the brink.
    2. The easiest way to ensure a good launch is to enlist the aid of a partner who can give you a strong shove off, thus guaranteeing some speed on the launch. Have your partner pick up the stern of your boat and shove you into space. Go for speed and commitment off the launch pad. Just shuffling forward to the balance point will cause the kayak to pivot on the brink until it reaches vertical and slips off the edge, potentially depositing you on your head. Go for a 45- to 60-degree angle off of the launch.
    3. Most paddlers naturally seem to want to lie on the back deck, which is a bad idea because it weights the stern and promotes a flatter, more painful landing. Instead of lying on the stern deck, you should be in a slightly forward or neutral position that will encourage your kayak to enter the water nose-first. In the air, watch the spot where you’ll land—this also helps to keep you slightly forward.
    4. The most dangerous aspect of a seal launch is probably caused by the dilemma of what to do with the paddle. The main danger is "eating" the paddle shaft (the nose sometimes tries to devour carbon tubing too). The two best positions for the paddle are either at the waist in a low-brace position, or held overhead.
    I prefer overhead, as it puts me in a good high-brace position after landing. The key is to have the paddle shaft well away from your face. If holding the paddle overhead, be sure to keep the arms bent and fists well forward of the shoulders, allowing plenty of shock absorption through the arms to protect the shoulder joints. Just before impact, leaning slightly back will help to lift the bow and promote a nice controlled resurfacing.
    5. If everything goes to plan, you will land at an angle between 45 and 65 degrees. The bow will pierce the water and then the buoyancy in the kayak will quickly drive the bow back to the surface. This swoop beneath the surface in a 17-foot touring kayak creates a beautifully cushy landing compared to that of a flat-bottomed whitewater boat.
    Note: If your whole group is entering the water this way, it means that the last paddler will have to launch alone, without someone else’s help. This is much more difficult than an assisted launch as it is very hard to get a really good push-off and the speed needed to clear the stern of a long boat. It certainly works, but sometimes simply throwing the kayak over the edge and jumping after it is easiest. A quick reenter and roll or bow tip-out rescue at the bottom and you’ll be ready to go.
    Most of the time a seal launch isn’t necessary, but it is always fun! It also promotes the valuable lesson of committing to a stroke or manoeuvre. For instance, an aggressive launching philosophy serves one very well when leaving shore in surf. An active and committed paddler is always better off, especially in a tough spot, than a passive, undecided one. —Alex Matthews

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Floating Docks for Very Rough Water?

    A launch ramp.


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    Default Re: Floating Docks for Very Rough Water?

    There's a lot of tide there, isn't there? Like 8 feet or sometimes more? I'd want a platform big enough to sit on in my kayak, have a remote control to lower it down into the water, and then paddle clear. I'd send it back up until I returned, then call it back down to take the "elevator" back up to deck level. The trickiest part would be getting in place for the ride up on the return if there was a big chop running. But I don't think such a system would have to be overly expensive. The moving part wouldn't be very big or heavy -- although some ballast might be advised.
    -Dave

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    Default Re: Floating Docks for Very Rough Water?

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    There's a lot of tide there, isn't there? Like 8 feet or sometimes more? I'd want a platform big enough to sit on in my kayak, have a remote control to lower it down into the water, and then paddle clear. I'd send it back up until I returned, then call it back down to take the "elevator" back up to deck level. The trickiest part would be getting in place for the ride up on the return if there was a big chop running. But I don't think such a system would have to be overly expensive. The moving part wouldn't be very big or heavy -- although some ballast might be advised.
    S.F. Bay is typically a 5' range with 8' "King" tides depending on the state of our planetary neighbors.

    If I was this couple (mid 50's... not the most limber/agile), I'd love to have this elevator idea.. I doubt they could afford it, but one could imagine it simply being a section of their existing deck, and when in the "up" mode, would be invisible (and of course, clear of the chop).

    So NOW the Mechanical Engineer in me wants to explore this idea.. I know its been done for swimming pools-cum-decks so somewhere out there are actuators that can withstand a chlorine environment... similar to salt water....

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Floating Docks for Very Rough Water?

    This, on a much smaller scale and made of aluminum so it would be lighter, is what I was trying to describe, lifted and lowered by a remotely operated winch. The floats would be necessary so that the landing could be hinged allowing it to sit level. 2 or 3 hdpe barrels would do the trick.


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    Default Re: Floating Docks for Very Rough Water?

    I've seen those houses for years but never gotten very close by boat. It looks like some of their neighbors have docks of some sort, so they might be able to copy those or ask the neighbors about what works & what doesn't. https://www.google.com/maps/@38.0760.../data=!3m1!1e3

    My guess would be that the best setup would be a very lightweight angled ramp / ladder / steps with a very small (2'x4'?) dock that folds back onto the ramp. Mount it along the side or end of the house, flush or slightly below the access deck level, with one end on a huge pivot and the other with a racheting hoist. When they want to hit the water they would just crank the end down to the water and fold the small dock down -- or possibly fold the dock down and pin in place before lowering. In effect much like what Gib posted above.

    The small dock would give them the necessary place to enter / exit their yaks plus provide flotation for the end of the ramp (tidal change). They'd either lower the yaks via hoist or just skid 'em down the ramp.

    Something like this lightweight aluminum ramp but longer, possibly with only the outside handrail to reduce weight, but side-mounted to their existing deck so no need for cranes or hoist supports.
    Last edited by Thorne; 02-12-2019 at 03:44 PM.
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  21. #21
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    Default Re: Floating Docks for Very Rough Water?

    So NOW the Mechanical Engineer in me wants to explore this idea.. I know its been done for swimming pools-cum-decks so somewhere out there are actuators that can withstand a chlorine environment... similar to salt water....
    Quite common for cruising powerboats to have a swimplatform that is submersible. That equipment would be well suited. Try TNT Boat Lifts ( disclaimer--no interest). They cost roughly starting at $20K US as installed optional equipment.



    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

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    Default Re: Floating Docks for Very Rough Water?

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianM View Post
    S.F. Bay is typically a 5' range with 8' "King" tides depending on the state of our planetary neighbors.

    If I was this couple (mid 50's... not the most limber/agile), I'd love to have this elevator idea.. I doubt they could afford it, but one could imagine it simply being a section of their existing deck, and when in the "up" mode, would be invisible (and of course, clear of the chop).

    So NOW the Mechanical Engineer in me wants to explore this idea.. I know its been done for swimming pools-cum-decks so somewhere out there are actuators that can withstand a chlorine environment... similar to salt water....
    And I'd be inclined to try putting it on the inshore side of the dock so the dock pilings could be used as a breakwater for loading on the return trip, paddling around the end of the dock for access.

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    Default Re: Floating Docks for Very Rough Water?

    Fight Entropy, build a wooden boat!

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    Default Re: Floating Docks for Very Rough Water?


  25. #25
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    Default Re: Floating Docks for Very Rough Water?

    https://www.jetdock.com/

    This is what I’m considering if we get a CC boat. I like the simplicity of it in a saltwater environment.
    Fight Entropy, build a wooden boat!

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    Default Re: Floating Docks for Very Rough Water?

    Quote Originally Posted by Reynard38 View Post
    Nice Stuff... looks very pricey.. but it appears to solve the problem...

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    Default Re: Floating Docks for Very Rough Water?

    On the lower end of the scale, certainly not as exciting as the flexible surfing doc.

    Some provision for an electric motor operable from top and bottom would help with two users and an 8 ft tide.
    Last edited by MN Dave; 02-13-2019 at 06:36 PM.
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  28. #28
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    Default Re: Floating Docks for Very Rough Water?

    Quote Originally Posted by PatrickXavier View Post
    I've got to show this to my brother in law in San Diego... it's like training wheels for surfing.....

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