Inflatable Boat Launch Wheels
How to get the boat to the waters edge? That was the question, in fact it still is. You may have seen from previous posts that I enjoy boat fishing from an inflatable boat or SIB (soft inflatable boat). I chose SIBS as I have nowhere to store a boat and am not willing to pay the extortionate mooring charges for a boat I may not use that often. SIBS are ideal as they can be stored in a garage, then transported to the beach in the boot of your car before being assembled at the destination. I’ve had many different models of inflatable boat starting with a Humber 13ft, then on to a Honda Honwave T40, then a Seapro 340 and then on to my current boat, the Honda Honwave T38. The Humber 13ft inflatable boat came with drop down launch wheels at the back which worked quite well but like all drop down wheels you need to lift up the boat to drop them down. That’s fine when you are launching. You can quite easily lift up the side of the boat enough to release the locking pins and raise them up. If you do this on dry sand at the waters edge you can then drag the boat the few metres into the water. Or if you like you can wheel the boat into the water then raise the wheels once the boat is floating. The problem is when you return after a days fishing. You try to do this in reverse, the waves are hitting the boat so the boats going all over the place, you’re tired from the manic days fishing, your body is aching and the boat is now a lot heavier as everything is wet plus the fish box is full (hopefully). I’ve actually bent a set of drop down launch wheels when a wave caught the boat as I was dropping the wheels down whilst in the shallows.
I used a different deployment system when I bought the Honda Honwave T40. I had the boat rolled up then bound to a sack barrow using straps or ties, the ones used normally for securing items on a roof rack. With the car seats down it would fit in the boot as is so I could just wheel it out then wheel it down to the waters edge. There is an assembly video here I made for my Youtube channel where you can see the T40 at the waters edge. You may be able to see the sack barrow there also. This system worked, but only when the tide was coming in. The Honda Honwave T40 itself weighed 86kg and fully laden with outboard and other kit weighed in excess of 150KG. Try dragging that a few metres, it wasn’t easy. After a few trips out I’d decided to go for a boat that was a bit lighter. In the picture below I’m still using the sack barrow to move the boats about but instead of a car, I’ve upgraded to a van.
The next boat was a Seapro 340 airdeck. At 40KG, less than half the weight of the Honda Honwave T40, I was hoping this would solve my launching issues. I purchased some drop down launch wheels from a shop on Ebay. They were reasonably easy to install and involved just drilling a few holes in the boat transom, applying a bit of sealant then bolting the 2 wheel brackets to the transom. The wheels then just attach using large pins. This system sort of works but this design has a major flaw in my opinion, the problem with these type of wheels is their position at the back of the boat. When you lift up the boat from the front you are carrying most of the boat weight. Even the Seapro Airdeck when fully laden was close to 100KG. Pulling that weight up a beach, even on wheels was extremely back breaking. Even worse on soft sand. I still have this inflatable boat and use it for solo expeditions but I needed something a bit bigger for taking people out with me.