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Thread: Launching small boat over riprap

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    Holland, MI USA
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    2

    Default Launching small boat over riprap

    Due to high water levels in the Great Lakes region, the shoreline of our neighborhood's deeded access along Lake Macatawa has been experiencing moderate erosion this year. The neighborhood association decided to dump (too much) riprap along the shoreline to protect it.

    I use this access point to launch a Pygmy Wineglass Wherry from a small dolly. The somewhat steep embankment always made launching interesting - The added riprap will likely make launching (or entering the water from the shore) even more difficult.

    Does anyone have ideas for making this area more accessible? I am looking for cost-effective solutions that would allow easier access to the water. Can some sort of ramp/stairs be built into the riprap?

    Short-term, I plan to use water shoes and beach rollers to help launch. Are there any other hacks that could make launching over the riprap easier?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Location
    Hyannis, MA, USA
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    47,363

    Default Re: Launching small boat over riprap

    If the rip-rap makes access to the water hard, perhaps the neighborhood association would get behind a wooden stairway that's also wide enough to slide the boat up or down.

    (It would have to come up for the winter.)

    Some riprap is fine enough that you could cross with rollers. But it's a real pain to deal with positioning the rollers on a slope and you'll need an anchor point at the top.

    An aluminum extension or folding ladder atop the riprap might give enough evenness that you could use the rollers and the top rung gives you a place to hang a pulley for the bow or stern line used for control.

    If the slope is 16' or so, you could make a sort of ramp for the dolly. Basically a pair of long 1x4's with 1x2's nailed to the sides to keep the dolly wheels on board and a couple of demountable bars to keep the ramp planks the correct distance apart.

    Dimensions approximate but light enough to load on the dolly as you go two and from.

    I like this sort of ladder:

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 1999
    Location
    West Boothbay Harbor, Maine
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    23,948

    Default Re: Launching small boat over riprap

    A photo of the location, etc. would help.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Posts
    55,360

    Default Re: Launching small boat over riprap

    Do you have any idea yet how much leeway/discretion you'll have for implementing a solution?
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    https://www.facebook.com/HarborWoodworks/

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    SF Bay Area- Richmond
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    16,019

    Default Re: Launching small boat over riprap

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    Do you have any idea yet how much leeway/discretion you'll have for implementing a solution?



    Seriously, Ian said it all above.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Niagara, ONT Canada
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    255

    Default Re: Launching small boat over riprap



    but with .. https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbilt...9-48/202533611 also known as chestnut paling fence.

    Then there's things like boat railways, overhead monorail cranes, and large tilting A frames with a rope sling. As a property owner, I'd wanna fill over with smaller rip rap, then railway ballast sized stuff that a ATV tire could roll on easy. Don't think it would be worth going down to gravel, since I think it might wash out too easy.
    2019: returning from being sidelined with medical probs, crossing fingers worst is over, still in "armchair enthusiast" mode for time being.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Location
    Holland, MI USA
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Launching small boat over riprap

    Thanks much for the ideas and help. I'll try to post a picture. Riprap rocks are about 6-8 inches in diameter. The shore is about 2-3 feet above the waterline. While the rocks are problematic, I think the main issue is the slope. The embankment was already somewhat steep, but the rocks now are piled at a 45-60 degree angle.

    The neighborhood association is open to solutions - I'd like to propose some sort of permanent ramp (Flexamat?) or at least a more gentle grade of riprap into the water. Assuming no solution, I like the idea above to construct a ramp for the dolly. But, that would just be more thing I need to drag down from my house.

    Thanks again for the suggestions.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Indian Land, SC, USA
    Posts
    1,453

    Default Re: Launching small boat over riprap

    A question : what is the distance between your home and the launching point ? If you don't already have them, could you replace dolly wheels with a golf cart- sized or ATV-sized wheel and tire assembly ?
    Last edited by hawkeye54; 07-13-2019 at 10:08 PM. Reason: added text

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    8,499

    Default Re: Launching small boat over riprap

    Check out Roll-A-Ramp and similar. You may also need a winch on a post to get the boat back up the ramp. Something like this commercial product could be home made, of course.


    I've also seen precast concrete ramp segments that can be laid down over a gravel bed. The photo below shows a fairly large ones. I've seen them installed that were long and narrow and linked together, presumably to be dropped off a truck and then unrolled into the water.

    -Dave

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