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BeachRay simplifies the boat into a flat, floating lounge

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May 10, 2014

The BeachRay is a boat for minimalists

The BeachRay is a boat for minimalists

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You don't have to own a Mercedes S-Class to get out on the highway, and you don't need a six-figure speedboat to get out on the water. Lakin Boatworks thinks that all you really need is a flat deck, a couple of lounge chairs and a cooler chilling your drinks and food. That's pretty much the BeachRay in a nutshell, with an outboard motor and simple controls to keep you moving.

The open water, she's a tempting vixen. Every nice summer day when I drive past my local reservoir filled with boats zipping to and from nowhere in particular, I make myself a promise that I'll save up and buy a boat. Then the reality slowly creeps in and it's not all that pretty. By the time I finish pondering the high price of buying a boat, the possibility of spending more time maintaining and repairing it than actually enjoying it, the hassle of storing it, and the old saying about the two best days of boat ownernership, it's late fall again and the idea slips quietly into hibernation.

It was a similar grappling with the ideal versus the reality of the boat that brought about the BeachRay. Designer Jarrod Scanlon was out on the docks one beautiful afternoon and got to yearning for a simple, stable boat that he could just hit the water with without too much expense or work. So he set to work on his own design and came up with what he describes as a "floating beach."

The BeachRay strips the boat to its most basic components: a floating deck that can haul passengers and gear by way of a drive engine with basic controls. The catamaran has foam-filled hulls supporting a flat, open deck that measures 14 x 6.5 ft (4.3 x 2 m).

The deck couldn't be more stripped down and utilitarian – it has two removable reclining beach chairs, two removable 48-quart (45.5-L) coolers, and a simple set of stick controls. Then, there's nothing but space, save for the rear-mounted battery and electricals. With its two chairs, it's optimized for two passengers but, Lakin told us that it meets Coast Guard regulations for four people and can hold up to 2,000 lb (907 kg). As you can imagine by looking at it, the BeachRay is not designed to venture out on rough water and is best used on simple, calm-water trips.

The BeachRay is designed for calm, relaxing trips on the lake or bay

"The sealed fiberglass and simple controls allow for more time on the water, less time on repairs, and less money out of pocket for maintenance and upkeep," BeachRay manufacturer Lakin Boatworks explains. "The removable beach chairs and coolers allow customers to pull up to a quiet beach, remove said chairs and coolers and enjoy the afternoon."

The removable chairs and large, open deck also open the BeachRay up to a variety of uses. BeachRay mentions swimming, scuba diving, fishing and just cruising. By removing the chairs and coolers, you could also lie out and sunbathe on it. It would also be easy to build up and accessorize for different purposes, either on your own or with the help of BeachRay.

Lakin describes BeachRay maintenance as hosing the deck and hulls down and keeping the motor running. It says that the boat can be broken down and winterized in under 10 minutes with a simple set of tools. At around 330 lb (150 kg) out of the mold, the boat doesn't require a heavy-duty tow vehicle and is designed to be towed behind whatever you're driving.

The BeachRay is designed to be towed by any vehicle

Lakin finished its first BeachRay prototype last year and is now moving ahead with developing a mold for faster, more consistent production. It has turned to Kickstarter in an effort to raise US$65,000 to put toward that goal. It is offering the basic hull and deck at a pledge level of US$2,000, a full boat without the motor for $4,000, and the boat with 10-hp motor and trailer for $7,500. It hopes to begin production in August.

The $4,000 Kickstarter kit is the same basic, motor-less kit that is available on its website for a regular price of $4,995. It includes the drive controls, chairs, coolers, a 360-degree white navigation light, a six-gallon gas tank with fuel line and gauge, and a few other components. Lakin offers four-stroke Mercury engines from 5- to 25-hp, along with options like a folding awning, VHF radio and anchor.

Source: Lakin Boatworks

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work.   All articles by C.C. Weiss
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17 Comments

It is a silly toy making it very expensive.

Slowburn
10th May, 2014 @ 08:32 pm PDT

I'd hate to be on that thing when another boat goes by. Susceptibility to wake and freak waves. You'd just get tipped or washed off. Could be ok to sunbathe on in a lagoon I guess. But nature has a way of making even the calmest water quite rough. That thing couldn't even handle 10 inches of chop.

Adrien
11th May, 2014 @ 03:04 pm PDT

What a genius!

He has found a way to charge $5K for a raft with a couple of patio chairs and cooler boxes ... OK, he throws in a small outboard as well.

I wonder how he slipped around any safety regulations on hand rails or whatever to stop tipsy users falling straight off the open deck?

Even the legendary Huck Finn's raft had rails around the outside.

The Skud
11th May, 2014 @ 08:43 pm PDT

The legendary Huck Finn raft was just a raft; logs tied together. I doubt it had rails.

It seems bigger and not as fancy as the Craig Cat boat. They do indicate one can accesorize it to fit what one wants; either from the manufacturer of the craft or outside vendors. It does seem very promising.

There is a photo of a Smart car towing the Craig Cat. It seems it might be light weight enough for a Smart car to tow. I guess it depends on how much accesories one adds to it and how much those accesories weigh.

BigGoofyGuy
12th May, 2014 @ 05:36 am PDT

It must be exciting using this in any sort of waves. Whoosh there goes the deckchairs. Or imagine snooping up the mangroves in the gulf, mere centimeters away from hungry alligators!!

The design of this boat does bring to mind what are called a "Wakeless launch"; flatwater boats used for crewing and sailing clubs. How this would be beach and by association ocean-worthy I'm not sure.

I still love seeing new ideas showing up on kickstarter.

CreativeApex
12th May, 2014 @ 07:04 am PDT

I don't think this will go into the water at the bayou!

Why is there a big hole in the deck at the front?

I look at this, and all I can think of is where would I sit, oh in the chair. Ok now where is my hole in the deck to plant my umbrella?

Paul Anthony
12th May, 2014 @ 09:32 am PDT

Much too expensive for what it is and can do IMO.

Bobbafet
12th May, 2014 @ 02:05 pm PDT

This is a very expensive do nothing!

Ed
12th May, 2014 @ 02:43 pm PDT

It's a catamaran hulled airboat with an outboard instead of a propeller. Want one of those? Just go buy an airboat, cut the engine and prop stuff off and weld on an outboard motor mount.

Gregg Eshelman
12th May, 2014 @ 03:01 pm PDT

Hello all and thank you for your feedback. My name's Jarrod and I'm the designer of the BeachRay. I would like to respond to some of your questions.

Yes it is a silly toy. It is designed to go out and have fun on and relax. Just as a Jet ski ($10,000) or a pontoon boat ($20,000+) or kayak, etc.

It meets all Coast Guard regulations. I have two large three ring binders of the regulations and am familiar with them as I live on and repair my sailboat frequently these last ten years.

It handles wakes and waves just fine. However, It is for wearing bathing suits and having fun. If you don't want to get wet you simply go slower (we regularly go out in our normal cloths and do not get wet).

The chairs and coolers are fastened securely to the deck with quick releases.

The front forks are there because it is a catamaran hull design which makes it extremely stable. It is not tippy at all. You want tippy, try a kayak.

And finally your umbrella will fit in a fishing rod holder! (or you can put a bimini top on it.

Thanks again for your thoughts and questions. If anyone is in the RI area feel free to come by and get a free ride for proof to my comments!

Cheers!

Jarrod

Sailsman
12th May, 2014 @ 03:03 pm PDT

This looks great.

Julie Long
12th May, 2014 @ 05:32 pm PDT

Great article! My friends brought me out on the BeachRay this past weekend. It was a blast. We started the motor and cruised out to the middle of the bay where we turned off the engine, listened to some music and enjoyed ourselves. Four of us were on -no problems at all. Can't wait for my next ride!

Annabelle Malloy
12th May, 2014 @ 06:09 pm PDT

Thanks for the maker's comments Jarrod.

I still would prefer safety rails on it though.

The Skud
12th May, 2014 @ 06:21 pm PDT

Your welcome Skud. I truly do appreciate the comments and feedback. I do not take them personally. It is a very different design and If I hadn't been living and traveling on the water, then I'd be asking the same.

I fall out of my 8 foot tippy rowboat ($2,000) once a year and no one questions that design! But I guess that means that 364 days a year I DON'T fall out! Ha Ha!

And we can certainly add rails if the customer so chose. Perhaps they will. Though having been out using our prototype for the past year or two I can attest to how stable the design is. I recognize that most people don't have that opportunity of experiencing it first hand, however.

There are a couple of videos on youtube and our website if people choose to see it in action, but I will not post links in the comment section here.

Thank you all again for taking the time to comment. It's appreciated.

Jarrod

Sailsman
13th May, 2014 @ 04:05 am PDT

Funny! We have these at a fraction of the cost. We like to call these pontoon boats. They even have a BBQ and all the beer you can drink. No need to spend money something like this that only fits two high maintenance people on board.

Nickolas
13th May, 2014 @ 06:43 am PDT

Nope. Nothing like a pontoon boat. Been on both! :-)

Sailsman
13th May, 2014 @ 12:34 pm PDT

Ive been on the BeachRay and have nothing but positive feedback to report. I keep my sailboat at an expensive slip and only use it a dozen times a season. With the BeachRay, id be able to use it almost everyday. Its almost maintenance free and the experience is unparalleled - you truly are one with the water!

CAPTANDY
13th May, 2014 @ 06:00 pm PDT
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