Building a boat dolly

With the purchase of a Dolphin American 12 Jon boat, I needed a way to transport it to the the river. The solution? Build a boat dolly on wheels.

I managed to find a free set of bicycle wheels that someone was parting with – I freshened them up with a coat of paint.

I began with 2×4 hull supports – 2x4s fit perfectly into the grooves of the hull. Once the 2x4s were positioned, I joined two (2) 2×6 boards together – this was the main axel.

After securing the 2x4s to the 2×6 main axel, the wheels needed to be installed. I used a 7/16″ threaded rod (incased in 1/2″ EMT) to join the wheels to the axel (and the front) – everything was greased and secured with pozi-loc nuts.

Since the boat rests on top of the dolly, there was nothing to secure it from slipping off the rear end. To solve this I created a brace that ties into the oar locks of the boat. A ratchet tie-down strap was used to secure the brace to the dolly frame.

I stained the frame with Behr outdoor deck paint, and added some old carpet to the hull supports to prevent scratching.

It took about 10 hours to construct this, and it works fantastic – far beyond my expectations. The positioning of the axel is key – the weight distribution needs to be 55% (front) to 45% (rear). Doing this allows minimal force to move the entire dolly.

 

Here is a YouTube video I created of the entire process: