canoe launch

I live on a large, tidal creek. At low tide, there is about 6 feet of a small almost flat rock “beach”. At high tide, the water comes up to (and sometimes over but that discussion is for another day) the bulkhead. There are hundreds of rocks abutting the bulkhead and probably holding it up. I’m trying to figure out if or how I can either launch a canoe or leave it in the water without it getting banged up by the rocks. Launching was doable with two people at high tide but I’d like to be able to launch the canoe alone and it is too big for me to carry. I wish I could post a photo.

always take out onto dry ground…

– Last Updated: Mar-15-11 6:59 PM EST –

$.01...You really never know what the tidal current might do, not really. Yes, we might know the general attitude of the flow, but the flowage isn't always at a constant rate...y/n? See if you can get hold of somekind of padded tarp with maybe some slick coating = making for a somewhat easy plane to slide it over/down to the water.

from the bulkhead to …
… the outside of the rip rap rocks (where rip rap meets flat beach at low tide) , how far is it in feet aprox. … and how far down from the bulkhead to the flat rock beach ??

What is the tidal flow like?
One way to leave it in the water is to simply anchor it, but have a secondary line running from the bottom of the anchor to the shore. If rigged correctly, you can pull the anchor in from shore without it snagging the bottom and the canoe will follow.

Another more secure option, though more labor intensive, is to set up a pulley system. Kind of hard to describe, but basically, bury two large concrete blocks with pulleys attached. Run a rope through the pulleys with both ends coming back to shore, and have two pulleys on shore so that you basically have a large rectangle of rope with pulleys at all 4 corners. Now you can tie your canoe or boat off to the rope, and pull the other side of the rope which pulls your boat out to open water but keeps it completely secure. This system is very common in SE Alaska and other places with large tidal flats and large tides.

If you want to launch it each time, you might be able to build a sled out of half of a 55 gallon plastic barrel to prevent wear, or some kind of wheeled contraption with large tires will float over pretty rough terrain.

Cant you just slide it into the water? I may not understand the dilema here. Are the rocks over your head or something? If the rocks are just small ones the boat will slide right over them.

There are two kinds of rocks, at low tide a 5 foot or so pebble beach and then about 4 feet of large rocks just scattered around, cinder blocks, chunks of concrete, etc. that go up against the wood bulkhead. I can climb down on the rocks but not carrying a canoe.

I’m trying to find out how to replace the whole bulkhead but no luck getting anyone here to even look at it so far.

What about
sinking a couple 10’ metal poles just off the bulkhead? Let the canoe be tied off to them with loops so that the canoe can lift and sink with the tide. Cushion the poles, and remove any sharp rocks where the canoe will settle. Or even build a simple structure just off the ground that the canoe can sit upon instead of rock when the tide is out.

Or…build a simple scaffolding with pipes sunk into the ground and a simple pulley system to lift the canoe up and down.

How about a remote anchor?

– Last Updated: Mar-15-11 10:41 PM EST –

You haven't mentioned anything about needing to lock the canoe with a cable or chain, and that would be a deal-breaker for this idea. If you don't need to do that, place an anchor 20 or 30 feet from shore with a pulley attached. Run a continuous loop of rope through that pulley, with the other end of the double strand attached to shore in some convenient way. Pull your boat up to shore, attach it a knot on the continuous loop, hand-walk that loop through your hands so that the boat travels out into the water over the anchor, then secure the loop so it doesn't move while you are away.

For clarification, have you seen those continuous loop clotheslines that allow a person to string a really long length of clothes just by leaning out a window? That's the idea of the loop that attaches to the anchor, but in this case you can do without the pulley on the operating end (the end that's on shore. I'd just tie off the shore end by attaching it to another rope with a sheet bend, or by tying the whole double strand to a fixed object the same as you would with a single strand).

A thought:
When I need help moving something that is too heavy for me, I use pipe rollers.

Why not get some 10 foot lengths of 4" or 6" schedule 40 PVC pipe, and then cut them into three or four foot lengths. Get five or six of them, and just roll your canoe on top of them. As you roll the canoe along, just pick up the one at the back and move it to the front.

When you come to a large rock or block, just slide the canoe away from it. The PVC pipe is nice and smooth, so the canoe should slde easily sideways on it.

The PVC pipe is very strong stuff, so the rocks and shells won’t hurt it.

Each time after launching or taking out, just pick up the pipe and put it on high ground.

good luck,

Jack L

thanks for all the ideas
I’m going to have my son and his friend look through them to see what they think would work. I think some sort of rolling thing might work. I did get an estimate from one of those easy dock places which was $7000 plus labor to put in a gangway/floating dock. That seems excessive just to launch a canoe.

I noticed there are email links, if anyone would be willing to take a look at the photos I took, I could email them to you.

Circus Cannon
I would load you and the canoe into a surplus circus cannon and just let it rip. Try to land right side up.

how about this…
Hinge a couple of 2x12’s to the bulkhead, put a float on the seaward end. Slide the canoe down the 2x12s.

circus canon
perfect! haha

I could also try a PVC luge flume down the hill.

These would probably be one time solutions.

PVC lattice
At a canoe race last weekend we took off from a spot that wasn’t a normal launching point. The water had bricks and chunks of concrete in it. They used a 4x8 piece of plastic lattice to slide boats over the rocks.