Custom mooring whips

By Pat Lynch

How one cottager made mooring whips from exhaust pipe


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It only looks as if the dock at John Mowat’s Eagle Lake, Ont., cottage sports a heavy-duty exhaust system. The blue and red mufflers that sprout from the dock posts are actually supports for his two sets of mooring whips.

Mowat’s cottage sits on a bay about 12 km west of South River that is frequented by a wakeboarding neighbour. “His boat sends in huge waves that were constantly banging my boat off the dock,” says Mowat. He looked into store-bought whips but the $300–$400 price tag put him off. “I’m a putterer and I figured there’s got to be a cheaper way.”

Inspired by the shape of light poles along the highway and with a source of cheap material – a friend owns a muffler shop – he started experimenting with lengths of exhaust pipe. With a little trial and error, his buddy bent the pipe into angles that would keep the hull out of harm’s way but still allow for easy boarding.

Mowat slid each pipe over a dock post and fastened it in place with a bolt. Then he inserted a second bolt through the top end from which he hung his bungee cords.

To dock his two boats, he simply hooks the cords of each whip set to the boat cleats. He’s even made three more custom-painted pairs for cottage neighbours.

The price was right – each set runs about $40 – and Mowat’s assessment of the finished product should appeal to tinkerers everywhere: “It’s pretty simple but it really works.”

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Pat Lynch