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Of Boat Hooks and Ice Poles

Updated: Apr 20, 2023

This Blog is about a bit of fun finding a simple solution to an equally simple problem for pushing objects away from our hull and picking up mooring lines. I claim neither knowledge nor experience, but I like the solution we found. Find a boat hooks with us.

Pushing ice with Of Boat Hooks

Pushing arctic brash ice, acknowledgment to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institure, WHOI.edu


Most sailing yachts have a relatively low freeboard, increasing with hull size, but it's also fair to say that similar motor yachts increase further. Stay with me here. I'm 6' on a good day, so 5' to the shoulders, add 5' of freeboard, and we need a 10' (3m) pole to reach anything at sea level, and that's if the pole is verticle, you hold only the end of it and don't lean over the rails. Add some angle and extend the pole behind the user as a counterbalance, and it's rapidly nearer 16' or (5M).


Wood, steel or telescopic aluminum boat hooks for an arctic adventure?


Wood or steel is no use here; too heavy. Aluminum may work, possibly the sort of pole used for pool skimmers. Many telescopic aluminum boat hook designs are available, but they are all designed to "pull," not "push." These will work well for picking up a mooring but for moving chunks of brash ice out of the way, maybe less so. A solid or at least rigid pole would be better, and if no one wants a workout, we should also keep the weight down.

Carbon fiber boat hooks?

Enter Carbon Fiber as a thought. We also have a couple of additional requirements; firstly, it should break down for storage purposes, and a 16' pole is challenging to hang anywhere. It should also have different options for the business end, for hooking or stabbing.

Flat fiber Push and Pools

Fishing in creeks and bayou with long carbon fiber push poles, acknowledgement to Carbon Marine.


Flat Boat Hooks


I firmly believe there is little new under this sun, which also applies to this Blog. We live in the low country of South Carolina. Flat, Pleistocene-era swamp land forms the barrier island chain of creeks, mud flats, and primarily dry high ground stretching from North Carolina to Florida. Similar land to many a large delta. The fishermen here use flats boats gliding quietly to their prey propelled by "Push Poles." Long aluminum or carbon fiber poles propel the flats' boats. Anyone who has punted on the Cam or Norfolk Broads of the UK will know what I mean. They take both a pull and a push, are undoubtedly lightweight, and must break down for storage. So therein lies our answer, we just needed to find a supplier that would work with us.

Push Poles Boat Hook


We found Carbon Marine out of Tampa, Florida, run by Joe Wilkinson and his son. They make accessories for flatboats, and that includes our push poles. Joe is an engaging chap and very willing to work with us. We have three conversations, and then two by 12' by 3-section carbon fiber push poles are on their way. The center sections connect, making one longer 16' pole for our more extreme destinations. They are fitted with marine-grade aluminum screw ferrules to break down into 4-foot sections for transportation and storage. They also float. We get a push end and an interchangeable boat hook end with a carabiner for picking up lines.


Ticks all the requirement boxes, easy to transport and easy to store. Carbon Marine was also a very engaging company; here is their LINK if you wish to look.



Chris Leigh-Jones


Acknowledgment to Joe Wilkinson or Carbon Marin - HERE


In a past life, I dealt with US MSC, Navy, and Mobil out of Washington DC & Virginia. I'd stay in a B&B in Oldtown, VA, owned by Patricia Rehberg. Pat had been in the US Diplomatic Corps most of her working life, and one tough old bird was Pat. She was my introduction to the Barrier Islands of SC, having spent her early life growing up around Walterborough. R.I.P. Pat Rehberg.

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