Mean Mr Mustard
06-23-2003, 05:28 PM
Thinking about pontoon craft durability and secure flotation I was wondering if you knew of anyone who has filled his pontoon's bladders with foam (styrofoam in particular for it's abilty to form to shape)?
06-23-2003, 06:02 PM
Never have. I think the reason they haven't is because it is added weight to the tubes. Would actually weigh it down in the water more. It is a possibility, but problem is that you'll never be able to deflate it again. I do know there are companies that sell a hard tubed boat. But not sure it's a good idea. One good hit (which will happen when you run a river) and you'll damage the inner makeup of the tubes. Not sure what that would do to the floatation aspect.
I wish I could help you more on that one. But I really can't. Never heard of that. I do know there was a company that had made boats with then shells and foam injected between the plates (river boats, not thicker hulled V hulls) and they didn't last long. May be a weight issue. I do know that spray foam gets heavy when it hardens. Hmmmmm, let me see what I can find out for you. Will be a couple days, but may be able to help you out.
06-24-2003, 02:53 AM
Go to cabalas.com and do a search on watercraft or pontoon boats There is one there that is made by Hobie with solid pontoons. I can't even pronounce what it's filled with. So do the search and find out for yourself.
The Hobie Float Cat 75 Expedition Package has molded, seamless hollow polyethylene (a plastic) hulls, and is supposed to be relatively durable. It is only 4 feet wide by 6 foot 3 inches long, so is on the small and short side. The whole package is supposed to weigh 33 lbs., and has a weight capacity of 350 lbs. Price is listed as $725. I don't know if the frame is steel or aluminum (or other) - it wasn't specified.
I am considering one for lake fishing (on calm days only) during the late fall/early winter. I can throw it in the back of my pickup fully assembled, and be set to go when I get there. I don't know if it could be used for rivers or not, but I wouldn't use it for anything but a fairly gentle run - no real rapids, as I would question its stability due to its small "footprint".
06-24-2003, 02:03 PM
The Hobie Cats are slick for lake fishing and actually track better and handle wind better than inflatables. I would never, repeat never, take one on moving water.
06-24-2003, 05:05 PM
I'd never take the hard ones on the river as well. Will boats like that, they must be made of one contious piece of plastic. So, would literally have to be molded at once with ZERO seams to be considered for river running. A welded polyurethane seam will pop under enough impact (which will happen at least once river running).
MMM, if I were you, I'd simply stick with simply air in the tubes. It's your best bet. Plus, the air inside acts like a shock absorber. you will eventually tag a rock, or even hit something under the boat. Will help deflect the blow. With tubes being more solid, not sure what the boat would do at that point hitting something.
Mean Mr Mustard
06-24-2003, 05:16 PM
I did figure the bumps would be harder without the air. Just an idea to improve on safety.
All from a guy who always played ping-pong wearing a cup :hehe:
07-02-2003, 03:29 AM
Don't think you'll need to worry about safety. I've had my old cat down some of the hardest whitewater in the US. Fully loaded boats AND whitewatering at same time. Boat has hit rocks, trees, posted tubes on pointed sticks, hit carbodies, you name it. You're about as safe, if not more safe, then most of the boats out there if you have a quality boat. So, don't worry. Just have a good PFD and you're set.