Anyone use a dolly to help them get their boat into a garage? My old Skeeter was no problem to back into the garage and could easily be moved around by one person manually. My new boat is wider and probably 500 + lbs heavier and is on a trailer with a 3' longer tongue (when extended). My driveway is L shaped with a 90 degree turn to negotiate. Due to the longer tongue, I run out of driveway space for my tow vehicle to position the boat into the garage. Additionally, due to the greater width of the new boat, the side clearance for the boat/trailer through the garage door is minimal (3" to 4" on each side)- so extreme caution must be used to avoid damaging the garage door and/or the boat/trailer. I had not anticipated this situation when I brought the new boat home and, after lots of maneuvering when I arrived home with it, was able to position the rear end of the boat/trailer for entrance into the garage but did not have enough room for the tow vehicle to get a straight enough angle to push it into the garage.
"No problem" thought I; I'll just hop out and detach the trailer from the vehicle hitch and push it in. Well, the extra weight of this new rig is significantly greater than that of the old Skeeter package and was a major problem to move by myself. My driveway has a slight incline to the garage and the boat wanted to follow gravity when I uncoupled the hitch. Additionally, I have about a 1" higher lip from the driveway concrete slab to the slab in the garage. The small wheel on the trailer tongue jack does not pivot easily and I had to kick it to position its direction. After about 20 minutes of making a big racket in moving and positioning the boat, I was able to generate enough momentum to overcome the 1" lip and get the unit into the garage. I do not want to have to repeat this exercise ever again. It was physically very taxing and, without a doubt, disturbing to the neighbors.
So, with that in mind, do any of you guys use a trailer dolly to help in garaging your boat? These seem to be the options:
This is a manual, heavy duty dolly but I'm not sure how much mechanical advantage it would have over using the trailer tongue jack. It would definitely be superior for its ability to position the trailer quietly but will it lower the effort needed to actually move the beast? Since I was able to overcome the slight incline and generate enough speed to get the trailer wheels over the 1" lip when I was pushing and guiding from the trailer tongue when I brought the boat home, I'm guessing that this dolly would work but, if the physical effort to move the trailer remains excessive, I can't envision myself continuing to do this (I'm retired) forever. If anyone has used one of these or a similar style manual dolly, I would appreciate hearing of their experience. If someone has one of these that I could very briefly borrow to determine whether it would suffice for my needs, I'd be most grateful.
This was suggested in a thread on walleyecentral.com . This unit is manual but has a 2 speed crank to assist in providing locomotion for inclines. (Some have speculated that the manual crank might be able to be operated using a cordless drill). Brackets can be permanently mounted to the trailer but it has a quick detach pin which allows for folding along the trailer when not in use or for removal. As there have been some reports of rust and wear for this unit and to minimize its attractiveness to thieves, I would detach it from the trailer when not in use and keep the trailer tongue jack that's already on the trailer mounted as is.
This one is motorized using a 12v battery so a battery would need to be dedicated to its use- which would entail cost, storage and charging requirements (thought I'd solved my charging concerns by ordering a 3 bank charger on the new boat). I would assume that a connection to one of the boat batteries or the car battery might be able to be Macgyvered in. This unit can also have its mounting brackets permanently attached to the trailer frame but, for reasons similar to above, I would also quick detach it from the trailer when not being used and leave the stock trailer tongue jack on the trailer frame. Unfortunately, this unit is currently back ordered until late July.
There are also full electric dolly units but they are large and expensive ($1000+) and would present obstacles as far as storage so I am hoping to avoid them unless absolutely necessary. Seems like overkill for my needs. Here one of them at a very good price:
I just don't have the storage space to accommodate it.
I would appreciate any input or experiences that could be shared using boat dollys.