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Convert old pontoon boat to move people in flooded neighborhood

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  • Convert old pontoon boat to move people in flooded neighborhood

    The neighborhood next to us is inside a huge flood control reservoir. The streets and even many of the homes have 8 feet of water and will remain that way for several weeks. I am thinking of finding an old pontoon boat and putting a small outboard on it.

    I realize that the motor will be very low and hard to use a tiller steer outboard but is it possible?

    I am an experienced boater and have a well equipped shop in my garage to convert things

    Is this a crazy idea or workable. I have no experience with pontoons


    Thanks

    John

  • #2
    Food for thought:
    • I wouldn't think of trying without console steering and throttle.
    • Pontoon boats have lots of room for folks, dogs, and stuff.
    • They can be challenging to maneuver in a stiff breeze or fast moving currents.
    • You'll want another person to help spot debris and secure the boat when stopping.
    • The airboat rescue guy on TV said they end up having to resuce many of the outboard rescuers because they hit unseen debris.
    • Perhaps theres a better way you can help out.

    Comment


    • #3
      You don't have the boat and motor already, so I don't think rigging something is a good idea.

      Better to go to where people are running a rescue operation and lend your body. They need help with unloading boats assisting the rescued. Maybe drive them to shelters. Or volunteer at a shelter and bring some water or food with you.

      I applaud your wanting to help and there are many ways to assist.
      BOAT SPECS FORUM HELP STARCRAFT FORUM SHOP iboats
      Please, no PM's (Private Messages) regarding boat/engine problems.
      That is what the forums are for.
      Only forum/moderator issues will be answered in PM's.

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      • #4
        The rescuers will go home at some point. This would be for the next 2 months. The water will take at least 3 months to leave the neighborhood completely. There is no current and little wind. The advantage of a pontoon boat is the flat deck after the seats are removed and a very minimal wake. I was hoping that a long shaft sailboat outboard might work

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        • #5
          I've done this before with my jet boat.

          You would probably be better off with a john boat, while the pontoon boat will carry many people, it's not the best thing for navigating streets and yards with floating debris . You won't be rescuing people after the first little while, it will be taking people and supplies to and from flooded or isolated areas.

          ​After the first couple of days I was delivering food and hay to the ranchers that didn't want to leave their cattle. As the water recedes the channels change rapidly and you need a boat small enough to manhandle on, off or around the new obstacles, plus be able to launch and retrieve anywhere, even with little or no water.

          ​The prop boats didn't fair well, they were very limited as to where they could go, and would get stuck in some places when the water dropped and they couldn't back through to the launch. When the water was at it's deepest in the beginning, or when the water was still rising the prop boats worked well.

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          • #6
            there were pictures on the news showing cars emerging as the water receded and there were propeller marks across the roofs

            pontoons are difficult to maneuver in shallow/rapid water and to get people into them without a ladder simply because the deck is 18" above the water vs a jon boat with a small jet or small outboard

            many volunteer boats get stranded because street signs, utility poles, cars and buildings are very hard on propellers.

            agreed with above, if you want to help, go and volunteer. they will tell you where to be, what to do. most of the time its comforting the injured, helping sand-bag,etc.
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            • #7
              A jet ski pulling a inflatable raft would seem like a logical choice.

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              • #8
                They are currently able to drive a 25 foot twin engine Offshore boat through the neighborhood with no problem. My concern is that the volume of traffic is a little more than a John boat and it use easy for non boaters to shift their weight and sink them. I agree that a pontoon boat is not an ideal choice but there are often free ones around in our area.

                Comment


                • #9
                  There is a reason they are free. I wouldn't trust any newly acquired free boat to save lives, starting with my own.

                  As said several times, you don't need a boat to help.
                  BOAT SPECS FORUM HELP STARCRAFT FORUM SHOP iboats
                  Please, no PM's (Private Messages) regarding boat/engine problems.
                  That is what the forums are for.
                  Only forum/moderator issues will be answered in PM's.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    There are dozens of people walking to their homes in chest deep sewage filled water and others leaving to go to work in Walmart inflatable toy boats and pool floats. It really is a mess that needs a long term solution. I can fix an aluminum hull or repair an outboard easily enough. Remembe they need a solution for the next 2 Months, not just this week

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                    • #11
                      From my experience - you're far better in smaller outboard style boats (row boat / jon boat), unless you've got a legit RIB rigged for ES work. Going around streets and such is the least of your concerns most of the time. It maneuvering close in where people are stranded or need to get to. You run out of room real quick trying to get in close to a porch, roof or rock.

                      Rescue ops are going to change up in the next couple of days. When it begins to be more relief and recovery, it's actually more important that it's coordinated and handled properly. If you go rogue outside of the joint tasking, in my opinion you're more of a risk than a help. A few lives were lost here in TN for that exact reason in our floods and a couple of other situations.

                      The consensus is correct, join up with what is already going on.
                      [ATTACH=CONFIG]temp_270443_1499813187632_202[/ATTACH]

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                      • #12
                        The patern here in Texas in these situations is that the local sherif will declare the area unsafe, issue a mandatory evacuation and pull all official help out and leave the residents to their own devices. This neighborhood looks like canal lots. You are correct that this is not an ideal solution. An ideal solution would be a 24 foot flat bottom boat with a 10 horse outboard. I doubt I will be able to aquire one of those. We have about a quarter of a million houses with significant damage. There are at least 100,000 people staying in shelters long term. This is a strange slow moving disaster that is more like the aftermath of war than a natural disaster. These people will be living in their houses continually despite the difficulty getting in and out.

                        My question is not whether it is a good idea, it is more how can I stick a small outboard on an old pontoon boat. I need to use what is available to find a better solution.
                        Last edited by John_Dennis; September 1st, 2017, 04:05 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The patern here in Texas in these situations is that the local sherif will declare the area unsafe, issue a mandatory evacuation and pull all official help out and leave the residents to their own devices.
                          Misinformation. You are thinking of hurricanes like when Harvey hit Rockport or Ike washed away the Bolivar peninsula and people choose to ride out the storms after the mandatory evacuation orders were given, not during a slowly evolving emergency at this point. There sure are plenty of official responders risking their lives and health pulling people out of flooded areas.

                          The better solution is for you to stay home and donate to whomever you think is best. You don't have a boat!
                          BOAT SPECS FORUM HELP STARCRAFT FORUM SHOP iboats
                          Please, no PM's (Private Messages) regarding boat/engine problems.
                          That is what the forums are for.
                          Only forum/moderator issues will be answered in PM's.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            And from having done it before, more than once, I can tell you that the situation will change long before you can locate a pontoon boat, then a motor, get it into reliable shape, then start your ferry service. I fully understand your sense of urgency, but unless this boat is in your driveway right now, or better yet, on the scene right now, there are better ways to help.

                            ​Go buy gas and deliver it to where the boats are working, supply coffee and food, a cot to sleep on, greet people getting off these boats and help them find shelter, let them use your phone to contact relatives, etc.



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                            • #15
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                              There are 2 or 3 12 foot John boats owned by local residents. That is it. They are unable to share them because they need them themselves. Occasionally a random army or privately owned 6x6 will carry some people in and out. The rescue is over. They are now trying to learn how to live in a swamp. Again if this was a rescue, I would agree with you completely. If it takes me a month to find and fix a boat it would not be too late. The water will not begin to recede for a week or so and then it will go down an inch or so a day if it does not rain at all.

                              I have been fixing up boats and selling them since I was a kid to finance my boat habit.

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