This is kind of a boat improvement as it allows us to better enjoy camping at lake with the boat!
As some may know, I use an Anchor Buddy
to anchor boat just off-shore when camping. I keep a shoreline tied to a stationary object on shore. When we need to load/unload the boat, I pull the boat closer to shore (the anchor buddy stretches to allow this). Problem is, our lake bottom has a lot of red Georgia clay which can make a mess of the boat. Plus, admiral doesn't like walking through this ilk so I usually end up toting her piggy back from shore to boat. Over last few trips, I've been experimenting with a portable gangplank to allow us to walk from shore to boat without stepping on lake bottom. I almost have one perfected!
I took 2 6' 2X6s and attached end-to-end with heavy duty strap hinges. I put an eye bolt on shore end and tied it off to same tree as boat's shoreline. At midpoint, I tied a short piece of 4" PVC pipe perpendicular to the boards. On boat end, I bolted a 6" PVC perpendicular to boards. With this setup, we could walk out to boat on the boards and the PVC pipes keep us off bottom plus stabilized the boards from side-to-side movement.
One problem I had was the end of the gangplank floating away from the shoreline. To remedy this, I used a small line and tied a bowline around the shoreline from boat and to the end of the plank. This allowed a little movement kept the end of gangplank with 1' of the shoreline.
As mambajack can attest, sugar ants love to climb out the shorelines and get all in your boat - especially if you've left snacks on-board. I tied some rocks into sacks made from old hand towels and tied this about 1/2 down shorelines to keep them slightly in the water. This contact with the water keeps the ants from reaching the boat.
My only problem was the strap hinges weren't heavy duty enough and they bent a little. For July 4th weekend, I plan to trying a different hinge or some type of eye bolts into end of boards with bolts or shackles holding the 2 boards together.
I may also add a 3rd and 4th board to get into deeper water. After loading 5 people into boat, it sat down on lake bottom a little and we had to shift our weight around boat to get it back into deeper water.
I have some pics in a Picasa Web Album Vacation 2008
about mid-way through the album. I've not yet figured out how to link to Picasa images with the img tags.