Practicing social distancing? Enjoy spending time outdoors? Nauticraft has you covered with our Escapade or Sprite Pedal Boats!
We have a build-up of inventory right now & need to move some boats out of our shop. We’re offering a 20% discount off the price of a new boat and options (exclusions apply). Place an order now and we’ll be ready to ship shortly after we are allowed to reopen for business. Contact us via our website at: https://www.nauticraft.com/contact/
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Nauticraft Corporation is thrilled to be hosting a tour of our factory as part of Muskegon Area Earth Week. Come see how our rotationally molded pedal boats are made. The event takes place on Tuesday, April 21st from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. at 5980 Grand Haven Road, Muskegon, MI 49441. We hope to see you here!
If unable to make the tour, come visit us at the Earth Fair Expo. We will once again be showcasing our Escapade Pedal Boat at the Expo. This event is taking place on Saturday, April 25th from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the Muskegon Farmer’s Market, 242 W. Western Ave., Muskegon, MI 49440.
Nauticraft boat owners oftentimes ask what the best way is to store their boat during the off-season as well as suggestions as to how to dock their boat during seasonal months.
The ideal way to store a Nauticraft boat during the off-season (or seasonal) months is on one of our modified Karavan boat trailers (see prior blog posting) and preferably inside a building. If storing the boat inside is not an option, we would highly recommend it be covered with a trailering cover or a tarp while stored outside in order to keep dirt and debris (as well as critters!) from getting inside of it.
If a trailer is not available, Nauticraft boats can be stored sitting on their keels. The Escapade with its single keel, will need to either lean on a wall in order to keep it upright – or sit on a Storage Cradle. Nauticraft manufactures and sells Storage Cradles made specifically for the Escapade that securely hold the boat in an upright position.
A Launching Wheel Set is available for the Encore and can be used while the boat is sitting on its two keels (ideally on a hard surface) as well as launching it (see prior posting). A Styrofoam block may also be placed under the bow of the Encore, thereby giving it additional support.
The Sprite Pedal Boat is a relatively flat-bottomed boat and will easily rest sitting on its keel once the swing up drive units are removed and the rudder is swept up.
Boat lifts can also be used to store a Nauticraft boat when not in use. Bunk risers added to a Personal Watercraft lift (similar to a lift used for a jet ski) will be needed to help with fitting the deep keels on the boats.
For boats maintained in tidal waters, suggestions are “Tideminders”, a Tidewater Boat Lift or a floating dock, which allow for the rise and fall of waters.
For ease of docking a Nauticraft boat, hand holds have been molded in at the stern of the boat as well as a cross hole thru the bow, all of which allow the boat to be tied off.
Another option is to mount a manual or electric davit to a dock to facilitate taking a boat in/out of the water. A jib (or gantry) crane and electric hoist would be needed. An Encore or Sprite can then sit on the dock, while a storage cradle for an Escapade would work best for that particular boat. The below pictures reflect an Encore boat hoisted at the factory and how the hand holds and bow hole are used for this purpose. (Note that the boat should not be stored on the hoist.)
The above are just a few of the ways to store/dock a Nauticraft boat. Nauticraft boat owners have been very creative in what works best for them!
Ideally a Nauticraft boat would be stored out of the water and not docked continuously for too many days at a time as the hull will become quite dirty, and barnacles – which are very difficult to remove – will attach to the hull if the boat is stored in salt/brackish water.
When storing the boats for a longer period of time, heavier items should not be placed inside the boats as that could possibly affect the shape/components of the boat.
A common question that we hear from new Nauticraft boat owners is how they are going to get their Pedal (Electric) Boat into the water. And once it’s in the water, how to best store/dock it (to be discussed in a later blog posting).
Keep in mind that our boats are somewhat large and heavy. The 4-person Encore Pedal Boat weighs 375# without any accessories. Add the electrical components to it as well as a battery, and the weight increases to almost 500#. With a length of 14’2”, this is a sizeable pedal boat.
Our 3-person Escapade Pedal Boat weighs 325# without accessories. This boat is two feet shorter in length than the Encore, but still a sizeable boat.
We would highly recommend that a boat owner purchase one of our boat trailers for use in launching their Nauticraft boat. We start with a Karavan personal watercraft trailer and then modify it to fit the deep keels on the boats. With a draft of just under two feet for each of the Encore and Escapade boats this modification is needed to allow the boats to sit comfortably on the trailer. (Note that we would suggest purchasing the trailer at the same time as the boat, as shipping a trailer at a later time is very expensive.)
In lieu of a boat trailer, an Encore boat owner might consider using our Launching Wheel set to launch their boat in/out of the water. Note that a hard surface is needed to more readily maneuver the boat; as well as a boat ramp without a significant degree of tilt. A bar will also be needed to place thru the cross hole in the bow to better allow two persons to lift and move the boat. (Note that if the boat is shipped, this bar will be included as part of the packaging.) Please refer to the maintenance videos on our website for additional information on the launching wheel set: https://www.nauticraft.com/boats/encore/encore-videos/
A Nauticraft boat owner may rather prefer to use their own personal watercraft trailer in which case bunk risers will be needed. These can be purchased at a local major trailer/marine dealer or on-line. Note that the trailer will sit higher, and as such it will be necessary to back it further into the water to safely launch the boat.
A boat marina is another suggestion. Most (larger) boat marinas have the means to launch a boat and retrieve it out of the water. Having a new boat delivered to a boat marina is an ideal way to get the boat into the water and may even cost less for shipping purposes. (Note that boats shipped from Nauticraft are packaged on a skid and in a large cardboard box.)
Sietech Dollies are another option – more so for an Escapade Pedal Boat. With its large tires, the Sietech Dolly helps with maneuvering a boat thru the sand. Note, though, that pulling a boat out of the water onto a launching ramp requires a very strong person. Also, the Sietech Dolly doesn’t travel very well across hard surfaces.
Bottom line – if the boat is being launched just 1x/season, most likely 3-4 able-bodied persons can lift the boat in/out of the water. If the boat is to be launched more frequently, though, we suggest using one of our modified boat trailers or one of the other options as described above.
Nauticraft Pedal boats have undergone various modifications over the years and as such, when boat owners contact Nauticraft for replacement parts, it is important that we know which generation boat they own so that the correct parts are sent to them.
One way in which boat owners can tell the generation of their boat is based upon the drive shaft &/or the end piece on the propeller. We thought the following would help with that determination:
– 1st Generation (boats molded prior to 2010 – approx.)
Drive shaft = fiberglass – round on the outside & hexagonal shaped on the inside; large bolt in middle of end piece
– 2nd Generation (boats molded in 2010 (approx.) thru mid-2015)
Drive shaft = aluminum tube (crimped on both ends); no bolt in middle of end piece
– 4th Generation (boats molded mid-2019 thru current)
Drive shaft = aluminum tube (somewhat similar to 2nd generation, but no crimp on front of tube)
– 1st generation (boats molded prior to 2008 – approx.)
Hex-shaped rod (inside & out) & white fiberglass; screw in middle of end piece
– 2nd generation (boats molded in 2008 (approx.) thru current)
Round plastic rod (3/4” diameter); no screw in middle of end piece
Note that changes to the drive shafts were needed mainly
due to our suppliers. Either the parts were no longer available,
or those suppliers were not providing us with parts up to Nauticraft’s standards.
Well – here we are. Summer has come and gone – way too quickly! Cool nights are upon us, leaves are starting to change color and soon we (northerners!) will be shoveling and plowing snow!
With all of that ahead – you may be wondering what you need to do to winterize your Nauticraft boat.
First of all, if you live in a climate that is going to freeze, you will want to take your boat out of the water. Ice can cause damage to the pedal drive system and moving ice flows may also cause the hull to become misshapen.
You will then need to drain any water which may have entered the boat during the year and accumulated between the hulls. This step is especially critical for boats that are stored in freezing weather conditions.
Drain holes for both the Encore & the Sprite can be found at the rear of the boat on the keels. These drain plugs should be removed to allow any water (this should be very minimal) to drain out. MAKE SURE TO REPLACE THE DRAIN PLUGS AFTER THIS PROCESS!
Water in the Escapade should first be pumped out via the bilge pump. A sponge can then be used to clean out any excess water in the Escapade’s bilge.
If you have an electric boat, we suggest disconnecting the battery after charging it fully and then attaching a trickle charger to protect it from becoming too depleted. If storing the battery on a concrete floor, you may want to set it on a piece of wood. This will prevent it from getting too cold and reducing storage capacity.
We highly recommend storing your boat inside. If it is necessary to store it outside, you will want to cover it tightly to keep dirt, moisture and squirrels out. Make sure that the cover is heavy enough so it won’t rip and let water inside. You will also need a support to keep the cover well above the windshield to protect it from the weight of snow accumulation.
You might want to check out the videos on our website which further describe winterizing your pedal, pedal/electric or electric boat. We think that you will find these very helpful!
I bought my Escapade in the spring of 2001 as a 50th birthday present to myself. I named my pedal boat RiverSong, and now—as my 12th boating season begins—I still love it as much as ever.
I lease a slip near the Pentagon from April through October and pedal the Potomac within view of the Washington Monument and Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials. I usually take my first ride of the year while the cherry trees are still in bloom and my last as flocks of geese are migrating south overhead. Sometimes I pedal past the Kennedy Center and ride as far as Georgetown.
Because I have a demanding job in DC, I don’t get out on the river every day, but I try to take at least one evening ride and one weekend ride each week. People are always commenting on my boat, and tourists ask where they can rent one. The cleverest remark from a passerby was: “Oh, a two-stroke engine!”
Like most boaters, I appreciate the beauty of the water and sky at least as much as what’s on shore. The scenery is perpetually changing, as is the play of sunlight on water. Occasionally I have trailered my boat to state parks and enjoyed pedaling on gorgeous lakes. As my husband Don likes to say, “The purpose of a boat is to take all the water up there… and put it back there.”
Sometimes Don comes along for a ride, but usually our dog is my only passenger. Our cairn terrier Boscoe accompanied me to Michigan when I bought the boat to give it his “paw of approval.” Boscoe passed away six years ago, but our young dog Skruffy enjoys boating even more than Boscoe did. He thinks we own the Potomac.