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Author Topic:   The Trailer Boat Dilemma
jimh posted 12-09-2003 06:29 AM ET (US)   Profile for jimh   Send Email to jimh  
A classic problem in trailer boating and taking a long cruise: how do you get back to your boat trailer?

If you are on a long cruise, say on a river, you might end up 500 miles from your launch point. Other than going back by boat, what other techniques are there?

The nicest solution would be to take a long river cruise on a stretch of a river which was almost circular. At the end you'd be close to the beginning. Unfortunately, most rivers don't seem to flow in circles.

I have been trying to come up with a solution where a group of boaters could coordinate in such a way that they'd help each other get back to the launch ramp. One idea: spot a car at the ultimate destination, then use it to haul all the drivers back to get their cars and trailers. Drive them all back to the haul out point, haul the boats, and go home.

Another idea: hire some guys to drive your car and trailer down to meet you at an appointed time.

Or: pre-spot all the cars/trailers at the end of the trip, coming back in an extra car to the launch to begin.

Anyone else have any creative ideas on how to do this?

Draftmanswife posted 12-09-2003 10:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for Draftmanswife  Send Email to Draftmanswife     
Every year or so, Tom and I put a boat in the St. John's River here in DeLand, travel up to Jax, and back down the ICW to New Smyrna Beach. We call this trip "the loop". It usually takes us about 3 days; where we stop and fish, sleep in local hotels along the way, or just sleep in the boat. When we launch, we leave our truck and trailer with a family member who will, at his or her leisure,in the next 3 days, take the truck and trailer over to NSB and leave it in a designated location. We usually put in a perk for them, like dinner or something, and they never seem to mind. This way, there is never that pressure of meeting someone at a specified time. Take care,
David Jenkins posted 12-09-2003 01:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
It has been my experience that it is best to do the extra work of moving the trailer before you leave on the boat so that when the boat trip is over you do not have to exert a lot of time and energy to get the boat on the trailer. I usually launch the boat then pay a restaurant waiter or college student to follow me in his car to where I want to leave my car and trailer, then my hired help drives me back to the boat. Similarly, sometimes rent-a-car establishments will allow a one-way drop off so you could get back to the boat (or at least that town) using a rental and taxi.
Bigshot posted 12-10-2003 01:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Ever see the Deliverence? If that is your kind of river trip, you will only need ONE car driven down....or just take the ambulance back.
Kingsteven18 posted 12-11-2003 08:51 AM ET (US)     Profile for Kingsteven18  Send Email to Kingsteven18     
Leave your wife home with the car and trailer and take your girlfriend on the cruise.
Draftmanswife posted 12-11-2003 12:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for Draftmanswife  Send Email to Draftmanswife     
But what if it's the wife's boat? Does that mean I can take my boyfriend?
Bigshot posted 12-11-2003 01:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Let's go Janis;)
Matthew posted 12-11-2003 01:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for Matthew  Send Email to Matthew     
When drift boat fishing Northwest rivers, a common practice is to take two vehicles. Leave the passenger vehicle at the retrival spot. Load all passengers and gear into the tow vehicle, park the tow vehicle at the launch point. Drift and fish the river, then drive the passenger vehicle back to the launch to pick up the tow vehicle. However the float is nowhere near 500 miles.
andygere posted 12-11-2003 02:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
In general, it seems preferable to have the tow vehicle waiting at the endpoint, to avoid any problems associated with leaving your Whaler moored unattended in an unfamiliar harbor or waterway. In many marinas, transient slips are first-come first-served, and there may be no place to moor your boat during the time it takes to drive to the start point and get the trailer and tow vehicle. Delivery of the tow rig at the end point sounds like a good job for a teen aged son or daughter that want to log some water time in dad's Whaler. In about 15 years, I'll be able to take advantage of that.

If possible, perhaps the easiest method is to deliver the truck and trailer to the endpoint, and take public transit (Greyhound etc.) back to the start point. That way, at least someone else is doing the driving for one leg of the trip, and you don't need to ask anyone else to drive your tow rig.

dfmcintyre posted 12-12-2003 05:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
Jim -

Had the same "issue" up north at Gore Bay to Mackinaw Island run one year, and when we did the Cheyboygan to Crooked Lake run.

We had friends go with us to G/B, launched and stayed overnight @ Porcupine Island. Pete's wife didn't know they were coming out to the island. She cried when we headed back in to Gore, and they drove the rig over to St. Ignace. We caught up with the rig a week later. They had made previous arrangements to travel back downstate.

The Cheyboygan trip started by picking up an employee from a marina @ Crooked, who drove the rig back after launching @ Cheyboygan.


Bigshot posted 12-12-2003 01:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
The trick is to tow the boat AWAY from home, get dropped off and have somebody drive the rig back. Then you drive home at your liesure and the driver is already home. This works particularly well when one lives on the water. For instance it makes more sense for me to tow the boat to Naples, drop it in and cruise back home then run the boat south and have a tow rig waiting for me.
Bigshot posted 12-12-2003 01:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Ooops! For Janis it would make more sense for her to tow the boat to the coast, launch and have someone drive the tow rig home. Then she can take her time doing the "loop" and wind up in her back yard. With doing that you don't have to coordinate a schedule with anyone and the motor is already flushed being she lives on a river.
Swellmonster posted 12-13-2003 10:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for Swellmonster  Send Email to Swellmonster     
When everyone finishes the boating event, they secure up the boats, and everyone pitches in and hires a plush limo, and all socialize a bit, "just dont let Bigshot drive the limo" :) on the way back to your vehicle and trailer. Everyone arrives to the boats and you stay another night....and enjoy!!
Swellmonster posted 12-13-2003 10:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for Swellmonster  Send Email to Swellmonster     
There are no dilemas, only solutions!

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