View Full Version : Anyone have a boat track/rail system

12-19-2009, 01:50 PM
I have been looking into these rail transport systems and curious if anyone here has one. Seems like a great idea but just concerned they might not be that reliable???


TX.X-30 fan
12-19-2009, 05:24 PM
I see quite a few of those here on travis, look cool as can be. I guess where they mount you could have issues in wet and dty times with the ground heaving.

12-19-2009, 08:06 PM
They are completely reliable, but only insofar as you get a good one. The winch system is key, and needs to be a push-pull system. If you cheap out, get a cheap winch/pulley system and a half-assed carriage, you're in for trouble. Get a stainless steel cable, too.

Look at these Shore Tracker systems (http://www.dhdocks.com/shoretracker/index.php) as an example of a well-designed, reliable system. I don't know what they cost, but I'm pretty confident that they ain't cheap.

12-20-2009, 09:00 AM
Track systems work reliably if they're built for your specific shoreline situation. There are lots of considerations to a system like this....type of bottom structure, slope/grade, weed conditions, etc. Talk to a dealer about your specific situation and use their knowledge of various applications.

My dad and I installed one of these at his place 20 years ago. Rails/tracks are 3" hot-dipped galvanized tubing. His slope to the water is such that a push-pull was not necessary and impractical because of weed/sediment buildup....although, at times, with varying water conditions, it would've been helpful.

Because of the odd slope of the shoreline, building a structure to properly support the system was key. I'll try to find pics....or take some after the snow and ice are gone.

12-20-2009, 01:39 PM
Thanks for the feedback guys, very helpfull. JohnnyB: is your Dad's system convienent enough for every day use? I am considering this instead of a boat lift. Idea would be to winch the boat into the garage (about 50' from the water) after every use. I like the idea of the boat and gear being secure but don't want a 20 min ordeal to get the boat in and out..

12-20-2009, 06:07 PM
My dad's system takes his boat up into the back of his garage. It is about 70ft from the water and the track goes another 60 ft into the water. I believe the controls for the system are R&G and include a wireless remote to run the winch so he pretty much gets in his boat, hits the button and rides it to the water. I would say it takes about 10min to cover the distance each way.

Like you said though, the benefit is that it is kept in a garage (dry/climate controlled/locked) the whole time it is out of the water.

We built the system when my parents were still weekenders....two years later they were retired and use it quite a bit more often.

12-20-2009, 06:25 PM
Many of these systems around my area, though most use "U" channel embedded in a cement ramp. Then a short structure/rail system that is quickly attached to the seawall to remove for winter. I'll try to find the picks of the various setups up and down the river that my dad took.

They work great, just don't skimp on the winch. All are sloped so gravity does the work to get into the water.

12-21-2009, 07:38 AM
Embedding the rails in concrete would be nice as long as leaves etc don't get into the channels, but in Minnesota (at least this county), no permanent structures such as concrete can be put on the shore within the legal setback (70 feet here).

These things are nice, and they're pretty reliable. The units sold around here (Shore Tracker) have limits set so all you have to do is push a button to launch or recover the boat and it will stop when it gets to the in-the-water or in-the-garage position.

east tx skier
12-21-2009, 12:52 PM
You might also contact MarkS on planetnautique.com. He has one that looks to be very good.

12-21-2009, 01:18 PM
Good idea for lakes, not so good on rivers or bays with current.
If you have current, a structure like that may cause a bunch of issues - mainly errosion.

You should check out other people's systems by you (neighbors) and see how they are holding up.
If no one by you has a system like this, you should think about why that might be the case.

You should see if permitting is required.

Many places won't allow people to get permits to put in these types of systems anymore.

12-21-2009, 01:50 PM
All of the ones I'm speaking of in my area are on a river with current...severe current during flood events. They have been going strong for over 30yrs without issues. A few of my friends have only 2 inch diameter steel pipe with "U" channel welded on top for the section that protrudes into the water...and a couple of cross braces.

Another friend tends to "over engineer" stuff and he has 6 inch "U" channel with cross braces of the same material...at a length of 25 feet we need to use the winch and old wooden fence posts for the track to roll on to pull his out of the river for the winter.

The only special precaution is to occasionally clear out the track of gravel/sand/silt particles that accumulate in the channel.

I can't find the cd of the pictures of these...I'll keep looking. :(

12-25-2009, 10:09 PM
Here is one picture I found...not really focusing on the rail system, but it's in there.

12-28-2009, 01:25 AM
I have been looking into these rail transport systems and curious if anyone here has one. Seems like a great idea but just concerned they might not be that reliable???


I've got one..... made locally.
I'm on smooth shore, and not too steep.... pretty grassy, and it works excellent.
It's great being to be able to load/fuel/tarp/clean your boat when you can walk around it on shore.