Making a boat push pole

Boat push poleWhile on a recent river camping trip, my flat bottom aluminum boat high centered on a stump.  My son and I were idling through a slough when we ran over a tree stump that was just below the surface.  Usually this is no big deal.  Everyone gets in the back of the boat, put the motor in reverse, rock the boat back and forth until the boat moves off the stump.

The problem is, when you have people standing up in the boat rocking back and forth, there is a chance that someone will fall out of the boat.

To hopefully eliminate the need to pile up in the back of the boat with the motor running, I am going to try and make a push pole out of 1 inch PVC pipe.  Being made out of PVC, the pole will not be able to take a lot of stress.  But on the plus side, the pole will be light and will not take up a lot of room in the boat.

This will be my first attempt at making a push pole, and to be quit honest, I do not know how its going to turn out.

Items Needed:

10 foot section of 1 inch PVC pipe
1 inch Tee
2 – 1 inch PVC caps
PVC glue
Measuring tape
Pencil or magic marker
Hack saw
1/2 round file
Rubbing alcohol, or PVC pipe cleaner

My first idea was to take a 10 foot section of PCV pipe and glue a cap on the end. After thinking about this for a little while, I came to the conclusion that the cap would go into the mud at the bottom of the slough. The end of the pole needs to be wide. There needs to be some kind of surface bearing area to press against the mud, instead of going into the mud like a drill bit.

Ok, so what can I put on the end of the pole to make it wider and increase the surface area? After thinking about several solutions, a PVC Tee seemed like the fastest and cheapest solution.

When the Tee is pushed into the mud, what is going to stop the Tee from filling up with mud and water, which will be brought into the boat? I do not like the idea of a pipe full of mud being brought into the boat, so why not cap off the ends of the Tee? The pipe caps are something like 59 cents each. I will spend $1.18 to keep mud, slim and bugs out of my boat.

Lets get started

Prepping the parts

Inside the Tee and the caps is going to be a raised edge. This is where the pipe is going to stop when inserted into the Tee and cap.

Using the tape measure, measure from that raised edge to the end of the cap of Tee. On 1 inch pipe, the distance should be 1 inch.

On the 10 foot section of pipe, measure off something like 2 1/4 – 2 1/2 inches. 1 inch for the Tee, 1 inch for the cap, and 1/4 – 1/2 inch so the two pieces do not touch each other. If you want the Tee and the cap to touch, then do not add anything. Just cut the pipe 2 inches long and be done with it. Something to thing about, the longer the distance between the center of the main pipe, and the end of the cap, the more pressure will be applied to the pipe. When pressure is applied to the cap, the pressure will try to bend the main pipe. Too much pressure, and the main pipe will break. If you want to add more then 1/2 inch, then add whatever you want.

With the hacksaw, carefully cut off 2 pieces measuring anywhere from 2 – 2 1/2 inches.

Use the 1/2 round file to clean the burrs off the pipe. Use the rounded side of the file to clean inside the pipe. We want to makes sure all of the pieces of pipe are clean of burrs, oil, grease or anything else before we start gluing the parts together.


Now that the parts have been prepped, lets put everything together.

Open the PVC glue, swab some inside one side of the Tee, swab the outside of the 2 1/2 inch long pipe, insert, twist maybe 1/4 turn.

I let my parts sit for about 15 minutes before assembling the next pipe.

Assemble all of the parts on the Tee.

Glue Tee onto 10 foot section of PVC pipe. Instead of 10 feet, the pipe should no be something like 9 feet 7 inches long.

Now its just a matter of taking the push pole out on a boating trip to see how it does.

Post your comments in this forum thread about how to make a homemade boat push pole.