row2k Features
Trailer Tricks
The Bottle Bumper
June 20, 2012
row2k hackers

A no-scratch, no-slip solution

This hack comes from across the pond: Alex Binkowski, the Head Coach of London Youth Rowing and the Mossbourne Rowing Academy, sent this hack over in honor of the impending festivities at Henley -- a neat trick that the Brits use when they trailer boats, to cradle and cushion the decks of smaller boats.

Coach Binkowski writes:

This is a very simple hack. It actually scared me when I first arrived in the UK. I couldn't believe it would work, thought it would scratch the boats, but it is so cheap and effective. Instead of using foam to pad small boats when they are tied down to the boat trailer for transportation, it is common practice in the UK to use an empty water bottle.

They are readily available, don't cost a thing, and can easily be shaped by letting air out to fit the deck of the boat. You can easily find a slightly larger water bottle for pair/doubles as well. It does not scratch the boats.

We never quite hit the same speeds as on US highways but when I drove a trailer to Italy in April for training the bottles stayed in place for the entire trip without being taped in place.

So: simple, cheap, and it works. What more could you ask for?

Have a great trailering tip, or a cool hack you ran into overseas? Share your tips--and hacks--in the comments below.

Have a great rowing hack for future inclusion here? Send it to us!

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Log in to comment
joe blow
11/12/2012  3:36:21 PM
It is your responsibility to provide a reasonable amount of safety to the rest of the public on the highway. You are putting a 26 foot long object on a water bottle and then driving at highway speed. Does that sound safe to you? Go to the hardware store and get a sponge. Fold a small hand towel up and use that. Rowing trailers have to be compliant to DOT rules. Most are not. But calling unnecessary attention to yourself doesn't help our sport. This is a stupid, irresponsible suggestion.

07/18/2012  8:26:11 PM
Most coaches -- should be every coach -- should have clinics throughout the season on proper trailer loading. Loading a trailer, boat storage, etc. are skills that go along with our sport. I agree, any boat handler with any experience knows that empty water bottles go in one place, the recycling container.

11/03/2012  3:59:47 PM
To be clear; most trailers used in the UK are of a length such that with a single, one rack point will sit on the aftmost part of the saxboard, and the other on the bow canvas a few feet from the bow itself. Most of the attachment security and support is on the saxboard. But the bow area needs to be attached, so you put a soft foam (think couch cushion foam) block under the bow, then use a boat tie. The foam stops the canvas being crushed by the boat tie as it is tightened. Why is a water bottle any worse than a foam block for this purpose?

06/22/2012  8:08:24 AM
$10,000 boat sitting on a water bottle. Job security for boatmen.

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