CARTERET COUNTY — Marc Barnett has been a boater for decades.
Mr. Barnett loves both freshwater and saltwater. He’s also owned rowboats, powerboats, sailboats, canoes, sailboards and inflatables. He wanted to take his 11-foot Zodiac inflatable dingy with an outboard motor plus fishing gear to the water, which is less than 200 yards from his house. However, Mr. Barnett did not want to drive his car; so, he had a dilemma.
How was he going to get the boat to the water?
As a semi-retired entrepreneur, he was resolved to finding a solution to his problem. After some trial and error, he came up with a passable solution.
Mr. Barnett went to the local hardware store and bought PVC, tires, threaded rod, clevis pins and glue. Flexibility and light weight became an important design driver.
Mr. Barnett eventually created a “boat” trailer designed to be pulled by hand or behind a bicycle. He assembled the trailer from aluminum and fiberglass and the length, width and height can be adjusted to fit the need.
Mr. Barnett named his design “Follow Me Trailer.”
He built this design for others right in his garage.
Mr. Barnett’s goal is to get boats out of the backyard and down to the water.
One of his favorite spots is Radio Island. On a beautiful day last summer, he took his Zodiac, which he says is decades old and powered by an ancient 5 hp outboard motor that can be unpredictable, down to Taylor’s Creek.
He launched the boat, cranked up the motor, and headed west on Taylor’s toward town – trolling for the unsuspecting “big” one. The town of Beaufort looks great from the creek, according to Mr. Barnett. He turned to port at the tip of Carrot Island and decided to beach the Zodiac to take a few casts from the beach.
A bit later, Mr. Barnett decided to head to Radio Island. After a hundred yards or so, the old outboard motor quit. Mr. Barnett rambled back to the Carrot Island beach and checked the gas, fuel line, and electrical connections – nothing obvious.
Finally, he cranked up the engine and it caught. A few hundred yards later, it quit again.
At this point, Barnett decided that rowing with the short Zodiac oars was the only option. (He said his wife later reminded him that using his BOAT-US membership would have been smarter.)
A couple of hours later, rowing against the Taylor’s Creek tide, he had the Zodiac back on the trailer for the short walk home. The next day Mr. Barnett said he put the outboard in the trunk and drove it out to Walt, his friend at Down East Metal Works on Harkers Island for some serious repair. He says that there is no bad day on the water. He will try it again. Maybe next time it will be on his kayak.