Near Tragedy on the Yak due to equipment failure! Solution?

Discussion in 'Watercraft' started by Jason Hoffman, Apr 14, 2013.


Would you want to buy a piece of equipment like this?

  1. Yes

  2. No

  3. Maybe

  1. WP_20130414_011.jpg I had a trip on the Yak last year almost ruined by an equipment failure. I was coming up on a big rapid, in my pontoon boat, when I grabbed my oars and leaned into them and the plastic sleeve that holds the brass oarlock failed allowing the cotter pin to pull through and my whole oar to come free sending me spinning out of control feet before large, fast bolder rapids.

    Fortunately the river gods smiled upon me and I was spared. Later, however, that same day my buddy had the same thing happen when his cotter pin fell out and he completely lost his oarlock in the river--forcing me to dust off my mcguiver skills with paracord and ducktape!

    Thinking about these two things in retrospect. I solved for them with a bombproof solution. I have a stainless steel sleeve now (with a teflon lining to reduce friction and a ring instead of pin to hold the oarlock. The ring is also outfitted with a fish-shaped anodized aluminum bottle opener to solve another problem when floating. ;)

    I later found that most pontoon boats use the same cheap plastic sleeve/cotter pin setup. So my question is how many folks would be interested in a set of these sleves and rings (with fish bottle opener on one ring) if I produced a short run of these for other fisherman?
    WABOWMAN likes this.
  2. What I"d like to see produced is a threaded oarlock that threads down onto the pin style glue on oarlock patches used by watermaster and scadden boats. I'd much prefer my oar sitting in an oarlock horn than drilled and held on by a pin with plastic parts. I realize making the whole assembly would make more stress transfer to the bladder of the boat.

    As for your design. I like it a lot. I use heavy duty oarlocks, cobras or stainless steel, on my 14' cataraft. These slide through Teflon bushings through a metal oar tower. The Teflon bushing could fail, but I doubt that anything that breaks the oarlock or oar tower would have me surviving anyway. I never use a standard cotter pin on my oarlock retention. I have spring rings or split rings. Worth the extra insurance that they will still be there.

    I'd be interested, depending on the price from the production run.
    Dan Nelson and JesseCFowl like this.
  3. Oar locks for a watermaster / assault is just plain common sense. They just need to make the plastic glue on brace larger or just have a 1.5ft long mini-frame that straps onto the tubes...
    Alex MacDonald likes this.
  4. I would buy them for my toon. Just wonder how long the Teflon would last. I would think a harder material would last longer.
  5. I've got to agree with Ed, I'd be interested, depending on the price from the production run. However, I don't need and would not be interested in the bottle opener.
  6. This discussion has me thinking that I should start pinning (I'll use split rings) my oarlocks. I had an oar pop out once trying to flail my way up a chute, and didn't really enjoy the loss of control. Lucky that I just got swept back into a deep pool.
    The reason I haven't been pinning mine is that the guy I bought my mini-drifter from advised against it. He told me a story about getting a downstream oar jammed under a submerged limb and having a freaky experience, with the downstream gunwale getting rapidly leveraged down. He figured that it might be better to let the oarlock pop out of the socket in such a case.
    Well, I've never allowed an oar blade to get caught under a limb yet, and I am aware of the hazard, so I think I'm going to pin mine.
  7. Nice solution.
  8. I'm no expert, but adding a split ring for oar lock retention still allows you to "tune" the mouth of the oar lock so that a oar can pop out under extreme impact force rather than catch, flip or break. I have mine spread enough that I can force the oar out, it does take a lot of force though. A popped oar with tether can be reinserted pretty quickly, unlike a broken oar and faster than swapping the the spare if the blade breaks.
  9. I've found that when some people get around watercraft, guns, sharp objects or lawn mowers, common sense-if they ever had any, is out the window...
  10. Looks great, and would no doubt be rock solid, but the cost would likely be 30% of what my Bucks Southfork is worth. I've not experienced any breakage/failure of the oarlocks on the Bucks. Of course, the rivers and sections I float are tame by choice... fishing for me is for relaxing, not an x-sport :).
  11. The ears on the oarlock "are meant to be tuned" as Ed said. You can do it on the river with nothing but rocks. They have to be tight enough that you can not pop the oar out of the oar lock on extreme rowing pressure, and many people give the oarlock ears a lot of pressure by digging down to deep, and loose enough to pop out on any hang up or with extreme upward force. Rope wrap is not all the same diameter on every oar and yes I do have rope wrap on my 8' outcast pontoon.

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