|Does anyone have any experience with installing a Shore Tracker Marine Rail System http://www.dhdocks.com/shoretracker/index.php ? Or anything similar? We are rebuilding our boathouses this summer and want to put in something like this in, curious if others used a prefab system or custom built?|
|A neighbor of mine has a home built system like that. He has drill stem pipe for the rails supported on concrete blocks and tied with steel crossbars like a ladder. His boat lift it a single axle trailer with no tires on the wheels, or brakes. The front has an axle added. He used to hand winch but went electric when he turned sixty. He never leaves his boat on the buoy or dock.|
|My uncle built something similar for his boat house. He use angle iron and then built a "trailer" but used metal wheels (similar to those found on industrial carts in factories).... built it in sections & bolts it together.|
|buddy of mine lives on a lagoon and has a galvanized trailer with metal wheels on it that is attached to a winch. similar to that system but pretty cool. doesnt have the track though.|
|I've had the idea for some time to use a winch for our boat trailer at our river place, It would give me the option of driving there in something other than a tow vehicle. |
My concern however, is the little front jack wheel not rolling well or straight without tracks.
Anyone seen this type of set up? I was thinking I need something like a wheelbarrow tire on a swivel, similar to a light airplane or small tractor front wheel. Do you think the weight of the boat would keep it centered in the ramp?
Our ramp is about 12' wide, so not much room for wandering.
Thanks in advance for any ideas if you have them!
I was thinking something like this bolted to the floor:
|I would be sure to put some sort of "lock" on the rail when the cart backs down it doesn't push back up the ramp when you drive on it. It should be simple to rig a one-way where if there's no tension on the cable it won't push up the ramp. I am not sure if this is how the commercial ones are made but I wouldn't want one without it (think parking brakes on truck when backing down the ramp).|
|I didn't think of that Scott, thanks. |
I don't think that will be an issue on our ramp though.
Our boat pretty much "floats" right on to the trailer without any forward pressure on the bunks.
Also that winch does have both a dynamic and a mechanical brake.
|Chris, if you do install the winch put it on some kind of quick disconnect or keyhole type slot. That way you can remove it easily if there is an issue and not have to fight getting a tow vehicle over it when it breaks. |
Also the rated capacity is when the cable is on the first wrap of the spool so get rid of excess wire when you finish your installation. It's easier on the mechanism.
I think you could get one of the double wheel dollies for the trailer to help take the load repeatedly. Set the controller on a really long extension so you can walk back with it. Leaning on the bow as it goes down should be enough to steer it one way or the other.
|I use that same winch with ours. The system blows! |
I've grown up with the same track system and can't stand it. I've used a few others on the lake and have really disliked most of them. Ours is fundamentally flawed as it was made for a small boat and has been modified over and over to get up to the 3k LB beast that sits atop it now.
Mini train track with cross braces. The problem we have is that when the front of the boat starts to come out of the water, the back is still floating slightly, if a wave or the wind comes by and picks up the back of the boat it puts too much weight on the front and picks up the back wheels and allows them to fall off of the track system.
I've seen them with grooves so that can't happen, the wheels are locked into the housing of the track and then rocks, debris cause problems. I've used rounded ones with the same issue. I'd think the best route is to pour a slab right into the lake and use a trailer with a winch! You have to worry about a wandering trailer, but...I'd think that is easier. We still keep the boat on this system for winter, but in the summers it's on a lift next to the pier!
|you can tell from this picture, the boat is too big for the system! |
|I've been using the shoretracker system from DH docks for about 8 years. We take our Sanger DXII from the water over about 30 feet of steep rocks to the boathouse and the system works great. The carriage is very solid and the winch is more than adequate. It is reversible, so it actually pulls the boat out of the boathouse and locks the carriage into place when driving the boat on and off. I've seen some pretty sketchy homemade systems and would only go that route if you're going up a very low-pitch concrete pad. If you have to suspend the track over over the natural shoreline or rocks, spend the money to get something you know is going to work. |
If you're in the Minnesota area, I do know of a guy who has made some really beefy systems for a friend of mine. They seem to work great for larger boats. Let me know if you want some more info on that option.
|the only problem we had with a rail system is that our water depth changes from 6" to 8' in about a 10' line--the front of the boat would come up so abruptly that the rear would still be floating and the boat would slip right off--never got it to work right so want to a traditional--just a not if the lake bottom is like ours--at my friends house, the rail system works great--pretty level lake bottom and about a 5' depth that slowly changes in elevation--his inspired me to get a rail system myself but we had disappointing results I mentioned above|