Custom Boat Ramp Build

Moderator: GreenLake

Custom Boat Ramp Build

Postby LGsailer » Tue Mar 02, 2021 3:33 pm

Hello! I hope everyone had a great winter - I am looking forward to jumping back into the forum and seeing what new projects are afoot!

While last year was a great first year with my DS1 I grew tired of renting a truck to launch the boat, and since leaving the boat on a mooring is not 'generally' recommended I am left with the option of a boat lift/ramp situation. Our property up on Lake George has a relatively sloped waterline but its quite rugged and 100% rock. After some searching I found the Roll-n-go system to be interesting, but pretty expensive! Shore Docker seems to have a nice DIY product that I am looking into.

This brings me to my question for this forum - do you see any issue using the "skinny" wheels located in the link 1 system below? Is 8 points of contact too few? Would they not be beefy/supportive enough for the day sailer? They do make a more traditional wheel kit in link 2 below, but seems like maybe overkill for the DS1.

Shore Docker DIY Link 1 (1,200lb)

Shore Docker DIY Link 2 (2,000lb)
Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2020 5:57 pm

Re: Custom Boat Ramp Build

Postby GreenLake » Tue Mar 02, 2021 6:35 pm

The DS weighs less than 600lbs, so no need to go beyond 1200 lbs capacity.

It occurs to me that you might also consider some setup that looks more like a trailer.

I've put an image of an actual trailer here to make the discussion more concrete. You could use 2x4 or 2x6 to make a frame, just like the frame on this trailer, just longer. On each cross piece, you could mount one keel roller. You could mount some bunks for the boat to rest on, but you would place them only at the top, that is, where the boat eventually comes to rest in the storage position.

You do want the boat to rest on bunks, not rollers, otherwise the hull will get dented. (That's even less advisable than leaving the boat on a mooring).

You can pull up a boat on carpeted bunks, the winch would be strong enough, but unless your ramp is really steep, you won't be able to launch - there may be too much friction. However, if the bunks are about as long as shown in this picture, that's long enough to support the flat part of the hull and you may be able to manually push the boat off.

For the bottom end of your launch frame you may add a shallow V and give one or two sets of guide rollers on the side, just to stabilize the hull as it rolls on the keel rollers.

The trick is in the vertical alignment of the keel rollers to the other supports. Raising or lowering them a bit will change the distribution of weight between the keel rollers and the bunks / guide rollers.

On my trailer, the last roller was dropped about 2". (It's in the water, even though the step is not). The bow can ride on it, but as I pull the boat up, the flat part will rise onto the bunks and lift off the rear roller. You can play similar games with any rollers/vs bunks to guarantee that only the bow section (Where the V in the hull is really strong) rests on any rollers.

Hope this gives you some ideas.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
Posts: 7186
Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 3:54 am

Re: Custom Boat Ramp Build

Postby jalmeida51 » Tue Mar 02, 2021 10:53 pm

if you go with the bunks, not the rollers you can screw slick strips to the bunks. They are stripes of plastic which you can easily pull your boat off of your ramp. West Marine used to carry them but I' m not sure of that now. Defender has them in stock. As Green Lake said bunks are much better than rollers. If your boat has bottom paint these strips might remove the paint where the bottom rests on the strips
Posts: 229
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2018 9:51 pm

Re: Custom Boat Ramp Build

Postby tomodda » Wed Mar 03, 2021 1:12 am

Polyethylene cutting boards are often a good cheap substitute here. Slick as goose-shit, last forever, easy to cut and drill. A 6-pack of 24" x 18" x 1/2" boards from is $27.99.

Cut into strips with tablesaw, countersink your screwholes, and voila! The only issue is that if you have any sand/grit on your boat or the boards, it will scratch up your paint. But same issue with any other surface.

HarborFreight has very good trailer winches. If the strap is not long enough, swap it out for Dyneema Rope. Perfect.

Anyway, I think you can easily get a shore-dock "ramp" for better and cheaper than the Home Despot Kit.
Posts: 830
Joined: Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:04 am

Re: Custom Boat Ramp Build

Postby LGsailer » Fri Mar 05, 2021 11:10 am

And this is why I love this forum! Excellent information folks - thank you. I think a custom built trailer-like ramp would be a great plan. I guess those roller systems are meant for aluminum hull craft more than others. Will let you know how this goes as I might need some more advise soon.

Posts: 13
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2020 5:57 pm

Re: Custom Boat Ramp Build

Postby ducano » Fri Feb 17, 2023 10:17 pm

I don't use it but I have built another boat ramp for myself. I hired an excavator to extend the trench and secure it by utilizing gravel, pebbles, and cement. Aluminum steel bars, hardwood, and PVC/rubber rolling wheels were also used to build the boat ramp.
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Feb 17, 2023 9:59 pm

Return to Miscellaneous

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 25 guests