GREAT INVENTIONS

Swim raft on wheels

By Ray Ford

How one cottager made his raft easily mobile

swimraftonwheels

Photo by Sean Nixon

1 comment

It’s a raft, a dock, and even a lounging platform for beach use, thanks to Georgian Bay cottager Sean Nixon’s amphibious design. Extensive shallows along the shore near their Wasaga Beach–area cottage mean the Nixons must venture out 200 to 250 metres to reach deep water. A shore-based dock was out of the question, so back in 2003 Nixon made this eight- by 10-foot raft as a base for waterskiing, wakeboarding, and general hanging out.

Since then, he’s improved the design, keeping the 2×6 frame but replacing the original 2×4 spruce decking with lighter 1×6 boards, finishing them and, most importantly, adding wheels to make the raft easier to haul ashore when it’s not anchored in the bay. Nixon attached the dock wheels (from Home Depot) to the raft with metal L-brackets, and axles he had made at a local fabrication shop.

Luxurious touches include hinged cut-outs on the deck that flip up to act as chair backs, and a recessed drink cooler accessible under a hinged lid. The raft floats on four inches of blue closed-cell polystyrene foam, but Nixon says he’d go for six inches next time to offer greater buoyancy under a full load.

When it’s time to play, the Nixons tow the raft into place behind an aluminum fishing boat or the neighbour’s Sea-Doo, anchor it, and hold what Nixon calls “our own mini-Wakestock.” Wakeboarding and waterskiing runs start and end at the floater. In between, Nixon says, boarders and skiers “chill on the raft” and watch the fun.


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btrend

Jul. 7, 2011

6:01 pm

I'm fascinated with this raft as we cottage on the Lake Huron side of Georgian Bay with a very shallow shoreline. Does the inventor have any plans for this raft? Or, would he be willing to answer questions from my husband about the plans.


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