Mountain Buzz banner

1 - 20 of 31 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Monthlong lurker and first-time poster here. Thought I would share the starter boat I'm working on as a beginner's foray into the world of inflatables. I wanted a small boat mostly for float fishing eastern rivers solo or with one buddy, in flat water up to class 2, with possibly a class 3 rapid here and there. Mostly pretty tame rivers, though.

I looked at canoe-like inflatables like the Saturn RD365 ducky/boat ($550) and the Aire Traveller ($2100), and small rafts like the Aire Puma and the Mini Me. All of those were outside my price range though, since the resale market in this part of the country is crappy and I'm not even sure how much I'll actually use the boat.

So I decided to take a chance on a $200 raft called the Intex Mariner 3. I know, I know--not a real whitewater raft. It's a 10 foot long PVC inflatable, rated to 660 lbs. The PVC is 0.75 mm thick, which although not as rugged as hypalon or premium PVC rafts, is not much lighter weight than the 0.9 mm used on the Saturn RD 365. It's also got a removable PVC fabric floor insert with slots that hold PVC lumber planks, to add some stability for fishing. (Not sure whether this floor is a liability for floating rivers with riffles/rapids...thoughts?) Unfortunately, the Mariner has only got 2 air chambers, which is a major risk for running rivers. I'll have to carry patch kit and hope I can make it to shore before losing whatever gear is in the boat. (Yes, I have PFDs!) If I pop this thing and/or just give up on it, $200 isn't a whole lot to lose. And I should be able to reuse the frame components on a tougher boat like the Saturn or Aire.

Attached are some pics of the speed rail fitting & fence line post row frame I've built for this little raft. I still need to cut down the plywood seats to size, bolt them on with u bolts, and secure the tractor seat. Planning to use Carlisle Economy oars, 6.5'.

I welcome any thoughts/warnings/advice about the boat, or anything else for someone just getting into rafting. Cheers, and thanks for making this such a great forum.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
227 Posts
I hope it works for you, but please don't go rafting alone on remote stretches without another raft or kayak along.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
506 Posts
Wasn't there a rumored warehouse near you (West Virginia) I think just overflowing with cheap top name rafts?


Jim
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Wasn't there a rumored warehouse near you (West Virginia) I think just overflowing with cheap top name rafts?


Jim
That sounds delightful. I'm all ears.

K2, thanks for sending me the river riders page. Looks like some decent deals on used boats.

Upshitcreek, I may try to secure the frame to some plastic moldings that are welded to the pvc of the boat. If that doesn't seem strong enough, I'll probably glue on some d rings.

Openboat, I'll be careful... Not going anywhere too remote in this boat.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
536 Posts
Wasn't there a rumored warehouse near you (West Virginia) I think just overflowing with cheap top name rafts?


Jim
yeah, i remember that thread. no idea if it is true but this was the company that guy was talking about. give them a call and see what they say.
West Virginia Raft Repair
RT 3 Box 432
Fayetteville, WV 25840
304-640-0802

so i'm just going to respond here in case you aren't actually a troll....

personally, i think you are throwing away your precious little money away right now. everything you are buying will go right in the trash can if you stick to it. the boat, the frame, oar locks, the cheap econo oars, the d-rings you are going to have to buy for that frame,ect... just huck it all the trash if you really get into it. it's a total waste of time and money on your present path.

cheapest way to get on the water with a new boat is an inflatable kayak like a aire tomcat solo. or better....just search NRS' or 'buzz gear swap or do a search of all of craigslist nationwide for used IK's or rafts and find someone who is willing to ship. ik's are the least investment since you don't have frames, oars, tons of cam straps,ect,ect,ect. just a good but cheap carlisle kayak paddle, IK, cheap starter pump,pfd. done, basically for just starting out.

also, your frame is abit too narrow working around that plastic oar lock thing. you are better off going too wide than narrow. second those plastic things on the side are not going to hold a frame, especially one that's too narrow to begin with and when they rip out then you probably destroyed your raft too. real frames put huge stresses on a boat in whitewater. and a boat like that isn't designed to take that stress. also, if you stick with that frame. make sure that side rail is only on the flat part of the tube and nowhere near the curve up on the bow and stern. the edges will be hot spots on an already very,very non durable, fragile rig.

dude,.02 cents.... just box that thing back up and return it to walmart or whatever and save yourself allot of personal risk, hassle and money down the line. be patient and go used or get a aire tomcat or something. it's all just pissing in the wind right now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
141 Posts
Those rope guides that you are talking about will prob tear when you tighten the frame down to the raft. Maybe not right away, but soon.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
346 Posts
I agree with upshitscreek...

I would not even use the frame, just use the stock plastic oar locks and oars with your little boat. The metal frame is overkill for that little PVC boat, and it will probably slide around and wear holes in the PVC in whItewater.

I used to have an intex mariner 4. It lasted about 70 river miles. It carried enough for an overnight. I remember running some really BIG rapids on the connecticut river at 80,000 cfs.....carnage....

My Intex eventually popped on a pointy beaver stick and I gave up and switched to 1000 dollar hypalon raft. The hypalon raft lasted about three years and about a 1000 river miles with lots of abuse. And now I row a super puma.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
707 Posts
Don't listen to these negative Nancies!

I have direct experience using an older version of the same boat (probably the Mariner 4 that FlyingDutchman is referring to) and I think for what you intend to use it for, you'll be just fine. I have even run this boat with two people paddling into a couple of class III rapids and while it help up fine, I would say that this is past the boats confidence range. We took on A LOT of water in those rapids and needed to pull over to bail. My opinion is that this boat is pretty resilient, and I'm not sure if yours has an inflatable keel, but mine did and it made it track really well. II to II+ is just fine for this boat.

I used mine for day trips and multiple overnighters... everything up to class II+ rivers, up to 4 day/3 night trips, with two people and all their gear on the boat (and more beer than you can shake a stick at) and I thought be boat handled all of that fine.

A few tips to share from my experience:
1) I glued some thin wear strips on the top of my tubes to prevent frame wear. I used a pretty heavy-duty fabric, but if I had it to do over again I'd just use this thinner IK material that's softer and easier to work with (AIRE PVC Kayak Material at nrs.com).
2) I agree that ideally a frame would go outside the stock plastic oar-lock parts that are welded on the boat, but I put mine inside those locks as well and didn't have any issues. When I was lining things up, it didn't look like outside those locks was going to work.
3) I had very low clearance between the oars and my legs... you might need taller towers and slightly longer oars than you think. I had either 6.5' for 7' cheap wood oars and the regular 6" NRS towers.
4) The boat isn't self bailing the the space between the rigid floor and the extended keel has a propensity to fill up with water. I cut a small oval out of the PVC sleeve that holds the rigid slats to allow space for a manual bilge pump to fit in, pointed towards the lowest point in the keel section... this allows easy bailing of any water that makes it's way over the sides.
5) I removed most of the perimeter line and only left short sections on the bow and stern for something to grab on to. As you can see from my pics, I attached the frame with 8 straps (vs 4 on large boats with full sized D-rings) to distribute the load amongst the welded on attachment points. I didn't reef on the straps, but it was pretty tight on there and didn't feel like I was in danger of ripping them off.
6) Because it has a rigid floor and just rested the cooler on that floor and used a couple of straps to attach the cooler handles to the frame rails.

I have since upgraded to an RMR so I can carry more gear and push the difficulty levels, but I have absolutely no regrets with my Intex boat purchase and have a lot of fond memories of the rivers I paddled on it.

Enjoy!
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
462 Posts
yeah, i remember that thread. no idea if it is true but this was the company that guy was talking about. give them a call and see what they say.

West Virginia Raft Repair
RT 3 Box 432
Fayetteville, WV 25840
304-640-0802
It's the truth ^^^Ask for Eric in the repair department and see what they have and are willing to sell. You can get some great deals if you catch it right.

I had an old Mariner 4 and it looks to be basically the same boat. It will tear/pop/fail somehow at some point (pretty quickly too) without any real abuse, sometimes seemingly NO abuse. I got mine unsused at a garage sale for $100 and I'm not upset I spent it. I use mine to troll around in lakes and crappie fish although it has a slow lieak now in one of the "welds" that I cannot stop completely.

Take a buncha tear aid and some duct tape with you always. DO NOT take this on class III. I wouldn't recommend it for a a float with more than one or two class II's on it. You will swamp the boat and likely tear out the floor trying to flip it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Thanks to all for the thoughts and input. I'll contact the raft repair place to see what used boats they have for sale. I just don't want to spend $800 on a used boat, $250+ on fancy full size oars, etc and then have trouble selling this stuff near DC if I don't get serious about the hobby.

I know the Mariner setup is not ideal, and I might waste $200 if the boat itself sucks/fails, but the oars were $30 used and the frame components could be reused on a better raft if I upgrade. And since I just want to do fishing floats on relatively calm rivers, I'm going to try it out.

FlyingDutchman, Kanzam, and Cupido, thanks for sharing your experience and recommendations! I thought I was the first to try putting a row frame on these little Mariners. Folks have tried them paddling them in whitewater before though...check out this vid at 1:50: North Santiam WhiteWater Challenge - May 26th, 2013 - YouTube (it is the Seahawk II, an older model of the Mariner boat, but with inflatable floor, which they converted to self bailing).

Cupido, did you use 1" cam straps through the molded plastic loops? I'm planning to lash the frame to at least 4 of those smaller rope guide loops plus the molded plastic oar mount fitting (possibly putting a bolt through the fitting where the oar lock used to be, as a more durable tie down point.).

Do you think pipe insulation on the underside of the frame would work as a wear-guard? I'm just thinking that inflatable kayak pvc + glue will cost another $50 on a $200 boat. Maybe it's worth doing it right on that, though.

The bilge pump idea is brilliant. My boat has the inflatable keel too, so I'll borrow that idea in case we take on water.

Did you guys run class 2 with the hard floor in? The floor fits in there pretty tight and I'm a little paranoid I'll hit a rock that will send one of the hard floor slats right through a side tube (POP).

Thanks again for the great food for thought. I'll post more pics/reports as my boat comes together.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
536 Posts
I just don't want to spend $800 on a used boat, $250+ on fancy full size oars, etc and then have trouble selling this stuff near DC if I don't get serious about the hobby.
sounds like you are set on your course but keep in mind reasonable condition used rafts hold their value. you can spend the $800, use it for a year or two and probably get every dime of that $800 back when you sell it. i've even made money on some of my boats when i sold them on ebay when bidders went hundreds over the initial Buy It Now price. Just be brutally open and honest about it's exact condition and people respond well to that. i've never had a complaint after the sale.

smaller/mid sized and even some larger rafts are easy to ship via FedEx ground so the market is nationwide not just the DC area. cheaper, good rubber with a willing and straight shooting seller/shipper is fast moving stuff, in my experience.

those econo oars are cheap at the outset but more expensive long run cause they will fold like france in the face of danger and you will have to replace them a fair amount and then ultimately upgrade to a real oar after pissing away even more money on the replacement cheap oars, proper oar locks,oar rights,ect. a basic "big boy", real carlisle oar will take the abuse, be reliable and cheaper long run.

anyway, good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
193 Posts
if your floating calm, smooth flatwater, the boat may be ok for you.

i agree with shitcreek about being able to sell a quality boat without a loss. i've had a few rafts and usually sell a boat for about the same as i paid for it. if I sold for much less, it was fair market value and i always got my moneys worth out of the boat. $800 for a 12 foot hyside bucket boat is a great deal and you can sell it for what you paid in a year.

here's the harsh news: don't take that mariner on *any* kind of whitewater whatsoever. if you insist please make sure everybody on it has a good life jacket on because thats just the kind of pool toy boat we read about people drowning in class 2 whitewater with. remember that if you take the boat on whitewater and it shreds then you have to hike out the frame and your gear or depend on someone else to get you out. the high risk of that boat popping and having to be rescued also puts other people in danger without need because rescue situations pose high risk to the rescuers. I got a buddy thats got a permanent bum knee from one day we rescued some guys and he tweaked his knee bad on the rocks onshore when he was getting a rope to them.

also get a real whitewater life jacket, not like the ski vests the guys in that video had.

please be safe.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
707 Posts
Cupido, did you use 1" cam straps through the molded plastic loops? I'm planning to lash the frame to at least 4 of those smaller rope guide loops plus the molded plastic oar mount fitting (possibly putting a bolt through the fitting where the oar lock used to be, as a more durable tie down point.).

Do you think pipe insulation on the underside of the frame would work as a wear-guard? I'm just thinking that inflatable kayak pvc + glue will cost another $50 on a $200 boat. Maybe it's worth doing it right on that, though.

The bilge pump idea is brilliant. My boat has the inflatable keel too, so I'll borrow that idea in case we take on water.

Did you guys run class 2 with the hard floor in? The floor fits in there pretty tight and I'm a little paranoid I'll hit a rock that will send one of the hard floor slats right through a side tube (POP).

Thanks again for the great food for thought. I'll post more pics/reports as my boat comes together.
1" straps, yes. You need to fold them over to make them half-width to fit through the welded on attachment points.

I'd say pipe insulation would probably provide some protection if you don't want to spend extra money on the fabric... but I would suggest that you have better materials than the repair kit that came with the boat, so you could just buy enough that you use some for this modification and keep the rest for your repair kit.

I did run class II with the hard floor in. I see what you mean, but I think the floor parts are actually under the tubes for the most part and that risk is relatively low. Having said that, you could also put a bit of extra protection on the tubes in that location as well, or just partial wrap some pipe insulation over the enges of the floor length-wise before you put the floor in? That might provide a bit of extra protection.

I definitely bounced off and scraped over a few things in my boat and I never patched anything on it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
339 Posts
You shouldn't have any trouble buying or re-selling a used quality whitewater raft in that area. There are always plenty of kayakers looking to pick up a used raft cheap in that area. Do a google search for local whitewater club message board buy/sell sections. Boatertalk.com etc....

Loose the frame and just use that Intex boat for booze tubing the Potomac (flat sections). Do not get this thing near actual whitewater.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
346 Posts
Cupido I love the pics.

And over here on the east coast the rapids are more pool drop in nature. The intex can run class 2-3 no problem, just don't hit rocks or beaver sticks, and be careful at the put in and take out, don't drag the boat.

I ran multiple class 2-4 rapids with my mariner, I just got really wet....and the connecticut at 80000 was class 5 plus, I ran most of the rapids on the upside down boat which flipped back over in the next wave and then upside down in the hole after....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
707 Posts
I ran multiple class 2-4 rapids with my mariner, I just got really wet....and the connecticut at 80000 was class 5 plus, I ran most of the rapids on the upside down boat which flipped back over in the next wave and then upside down in the hole after....
Damn... that's pretty ballsy... nice! :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
339 Posts
Anybody suggesting this boat is suitable for a Class II river is just giving you wrong advice. Get a decent raft. Also, keep in mind that some whitewater sections have regulations to keep boat like this off the river so you don't become a hassle to everybody else when it pops. Example Class II Lehigh River in PA (look under rules):

http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/findapark/lehighgorge/lehighgorge-whitewater/
 
1 - 20 of 31 Posts
Top