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Thread: Beach Launching Zodiacs

  1. #1

    Default Beach Launching Zodiacs

    Anyone have tips on launching zodiacs with a trailer and 4x4 truck to avoid the boat launch with the crowds and fees in some of the following areas:

    Whittier
    Seward
    Kenai
    Deep Creek
    Homer

    Anyother tips on launching from beaches would be appreciated. Thanks

  2. #2
    Member SEEBLAZE's Avatar
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    Smile My 2 cents

    irishlord,
    Buy a set of launch wheels and save the risk of loosing your truck and trailer. I have a set and for my zodiak and it was the best 100 bucks I ever spent for that boat. If you launch on the rocks with launch wheels it's no problem now in soft sand its a whole nother story. The other really nice thing is before you come up to shore you lock your wheels down and come in slow and your skeg won't even touch the ground. I have used them every where I have a 12' zod with a aluminum hull/keel with a 15 horse merc. I usually like to have one other person with me to help out with launching and retrieving but it's the best hundred bucks I have spent on that boat, well maybe except for the motor. At first I only kept them on when I thought I was going to use them, but through the years I've learned to just keep them on or in the boat. Never know when you'll need them. Hope this helps you out.

  3. #3
    Member ACBMAN's Avatar
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    Default

    What kind and where did you get your launch wheels for $100,I'm looking to get some,thanks.

  4. #4

    Default Launching

    Seem some funny stuff, like a truck roof sticking out of the water. We used to beach launch all the time, take the boat bow out down to 50 feet of the water take the anchor out to the waters edge and set it. Load the boat with gear. Get in pop a beer and wait for the tide. once afloat, pull on anchor to drag you out deeper, start up and go. Deep creek you can put right in the creek and wait for hi tide.
    Watch craigs list or ADN under $100 see launch wheels in there once in a while.
    In the 70's it seemed easy, older means hard work to launch, I'll pay now!

  5. #5

    Default

    Go to your marine dealer and spend $30 for a spare tire mount to fit the tongue of your trailer. You want the kind that allows the spare to spin. Suddenly your trailer is a 3-wheeler.

    If the driving is soft, simply detach your trailer, attach a line, and roll it back into the water. Use your truck to pull the line and trailer back up onto solid ground.

    Been doing it for years. Biggest hassle is that both zodiaks and the trailers designed for them are light. Between air trapped in the trailer frame and the tires, the trailer is going to want to float for a minute or so. Settle down and let it sink, then launch or load your trailer.

    It's easy and cheap.

    BTW- I've got launch wheels. If you insist on them, be sure to get the wide ones for soft ground. You'll hate the skinny ones. The extra wheel on the trailer works best because you never have to unload your zodiak to get it in and out of the water. Try that with launch wheels.

  6. #6
    Member fullkurl's Avatar
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    Default Launch wheels

    IL, be sure to invest in quality wheels! There are some out there that will have a life expectancy far less than you'll probably desire.
    The rocks, rolling surf and debris will quickly destroy them. The "spoked" style can be particularly light duty.

    And I'd be less concerned with price than quality.

    Here's a photo of the set we had on ours. They were actually four tires on two axles.
    I bought the raft used and don't know where the original owner got them. They folded/locked up and down and were very stout.
    I'm thinking they were probably $150-$200, maybe a bit more.


    Theres nothing like a good set of wheels to ease raft launching though. I used mine at Deep creek, Seward and Valdez.

    Frank
    Last edited by fullkurl; 10-25-2008 at 00:15.

  7. #7

    Default Thanks

    Thanks, Have been thinking about the landing wheels, we'll check that out, never thought about using a third wheel on the trailer, that sounds like a great idea.

  8. #8

    Default

    I use my landing wheels for getting the boat above the tide line in remote locations, but it's real PITA for me to use them for launching the boat. First you have to get the raft off the trailer. Then lug all your gear to the water. At the end of a long day you have to unload the boat, even dismount the outboard if you're by yourself and the beach is steap. Then lug everything up the hill, then manage to get the raft up on the trailer again. Then load the boat and truck.

    None of that with the third wheel on the trailer. Both landing wheels and the third trailer wheel are useful in their place, and that's why I have both.

  9. #9

    Default Inflatable rollers

    My father used inflatable tubes (rollers) to launch almost any kind of flat bottomed boat, zodiak, raft, even a large aluminum jet boat on the beach, soft sand, whatever. He has been doing that for 40 or 50 years. You can use the center section of a raft, or purchase them. You need two and probably three for a bigger boat. I think Hodgeman makes them also.
    Basically just keep taking them from the back as they roll out and bring them back to the front. (you will probably need more than one guy with a heavier boat).
    Hike faster. I hear banjo music.

  10. #10
    Member Duckhunter's Avatar
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    Default Meat trailer

    Has anyone ever considered using an otter sled as a kinda of cargo or meat trailer to pull behind a zodak. I know a guy that modified one to hull duck decoys to a spot but I am making one to hull extra fuell or gear. I'll post something this spring if it works out. If not I'll duck hunt with!!!

  11. #11
    Member Duckhunter's Avatar
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    Default Off subject

    I know its a little off subject but i'm sure someone has tried it or has some opion on it.

  12. #12
    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    Default

    ahhh the good old days of beach launching. I started fishing at deep creek in 1981 with my dad and our 16' zodiac. After the king craziness ended we pretty much had the beach to ourselves unless there was a clamming tide. Then again if there was a clamming tide we usually did not fish. Back then launch wheels were the way to go. I remember my dad made some. We just camped on the beach and loaded up the Zod wheeled it into the water and got it floated pulled the wheels and off we go. No with the tractors and crowds at deep creek it is much tougher. I have done the river on the incoming tide but the tractors do make it easy. In this case wheels are the way to go for you IMO. Oh and back in the day before dad made the wheels we used to just slug it down to the water. Gosh i was 15 then and who would have thought at 16 id be drivng down with my own a zodiac slaying those butts. 42 now and miss the craziness on the beach sometimes. We never got into trouble but we always kept an eye on the wind and weather.
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

  13. #13
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    Default

    Invest in a surf prop guard, if you are doing a lot of beach launch and recovery.

  14. #14
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    Default

    Friends and I operated off of Whiskey Gulch for years in 14' Zodiacs with 15hp motors. That was back when the road was iffy for a 4x4 pickup without dragging a heavy boat. With that setup two guys could lift the boat and carry it to or out of the water. We could launch into and get back out of waves that guys with bigger motors and beach wheels couldn't operate in. To come in we'd unlock the motor tilt, time the waves to surf one in, jump out/grab the boat and RUN before the next wave hit. We had a blast. Having kids was the only reason we stopped doing it.

  15. #15

    Default

    I'm sure dragging an otter would work as long as it trails behind you fine. The zody I have can only be picked up and hauled any distance with three poeple and that is without the 25HP motor.

    I'll have to try a beach launch this summer on the beach, somewhere just north of Homer (I have thought of just backing it up on the beach on the homer spit).

    A question a bit off topic, what type of gear do you put on your inflatables for fishing for halibut? Any tips or tricks? Depth/Fish Finders, Rod Holders, Fish Storage???

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