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Rainbow Bridge Houseboat Question

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Hello,

Long time lurker with a question. I realize this question is subjective to skills and willingness to take risk so I expect varying answers. We are experienced boaters and don't take risks but I have been reading numerous conflicting reports about navigating the canyon.

We are renting an Axiom (16'x65') from Waheap the end of October and one of our stops is Rainbow Bridge. We do not want to rent a small boat or kayaks at this point so we want to take a chance to navigate Fobidding Canyon with the houseboat. Is it safe? Has anyone done it in a boat this large? Unless they drain the lake down this year it looks like there will be plenty of water and the canyon should be wider do to the extra depth.

Thanks in advance for your opinions!
 

birdsnest

Well-Known Member
Like you say,safe is linked to your abilities. I would have no problem taking a houseboat to the Rainbow Bridge dock. Remember that the tour boat goes there on a regular basis. You'll probably be rocking and rolling but I don't recall any hazards. I have extensive houseboat experience though. I don't know of any prohibitions against a house boat but certainly would check.
 

cfulton

Well-Known Member
In October the lake traffic will be reduced but what I'd recommend is going into the bridge as early as possible...beat the ranger even. The narrowest part of the trip is wakeless so other boat traffic should be slowed down and reasonable. The canyon before the wakeless can get really rough with boat wakes so have everything secure and folks seated if big waves are present. I have seen houseboats in there many times.
Chuck
 
Thank you both. Safety of the vessel and crew are paramount so if we do this it will be early. Like sunrise early.

My only concern is the choke point. I have watched a few videos which appear to have been shot during the busy season and that just seems reckless. These videos appear to be shot from smaller houseboats and even then the choke point seems really narrow.

I know about the tour boat but there are no specs on its dimensions. The beam width is what worries me.

I appreciate your thoughts and opinions.
 

birdsnest

Well-Known Member
If you know how to pivot your boat with the engines you should have no problem. I guarantee the tour boat beam is at least as wide as the houseboat. My only concern would be meeting another houseboat coming the other way and I wouldn't want to try to back up. That would change eveything.
 

Goblin

Well-Known Member
This is the turn off of Forbidding Canyon into Rainbow Bridge Canyon. Depending on the courtesy dock configuration, quarters may be tight around the dock. It can be surprising how quickly driving a big slow moving hog into tight quarters can turn ugly. Especially if you add any or all of the following: Winds, heavy traffic or cluedo boat drivers. :confused:
upload_2017-5-21_10-27-27.png

The docks will probably be close to one of the following setups depending on water level:
upload_2017-5-21_9-57-1.png
Wed, Jul 12, 2006, 3609.27'

-or-

upload_2017-5-21_9-59-5.png
Mon, Jun 22, 2009, 3638.02'

Good Luck,
Goblin
 

Ryan

Well-Known Member
First, I think the Axiom is wider than a tour boat. And I don't know what your skill level is, but I am pretty confident that those driving the tour boats have many hours under their belt, and almost certainly a Captain's license. So, I don't think I would be using that as a comparison.

That said, I have seen a number of houseboats in there, so it can be done. As said, end of October will be much less crowded than in July. And getting there early (as stated) should be the best plan.

Does the Axiom have a bow thruster?
 
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Dale

Well-Known Member
We have been in there twice in the 59" Admiral class. ( They have a new name now) We were at 3650 or higher, and had no problems. That was in late Sept/early Oct. If you know how to drive a boat, should not be a problem.
 
Thanks everyone for the advise. I think the time or year and day we want to navigate should certainly help us.

I was not comparing my skill level with the tour boat, just the dimensions of the boat itself. I wanted to make sure there was enough clearance on the canyon walls.

We have many many years operating a twin engine cruiser but half the size. We are patient and safe. We don't push limits or put ourselves in high risk situations but this seems entirely possible.

Thanks again!
 

potter water

Well-Known Member
You really had better be skilled. Any wind, and there usually is wind will have you banging into things. A houseboat back there is always a major irritant because of the room they take up and the problems all captains I've seen back there have. I've had to help other boats play tug boat for houseboats twice just to get them turned and out of there. Be prepared to be humbled!
 
I've been humbled many more times then I'd like to admit. If you haven't been humbled by a boat, you are doing something wrong.

That said, considering the time of year we shouldn't be in the way.
 

Dale

Well-Known Member
I have never had a wind problem in the Rainbow Bridge canyon. Idiots in Blue tops are another hazard. Some people do not seem to understand the "no wake" concept!
 
I'm surprised it hasn't been mentioned. To really see Lake Powell, the incredible canyons, you need a ski touring boat. You can get to places you'd never take a houseboat. I know rentals aren't cheap, but I'd find a way.
 

ROSCOELAB

Well-Known Member
also remember the outer most end of the docs are reserved for the tour boats...... that's the only advice id give as I have seen them move houseboats to stay on schedule.
 

ScottF

Well-Known Member
I've navigated this canyon on a 59' X 16' cruiser and it went fine. But that boat has pod drives, a bow thruster and much less surface subject to wind compared to an equal size houseboat. I wouldn't take a houseboat of your size to Rainbow Bridge.
 
Thanks everyone! We are going to give it a shot early one morning. If we get to the choke or it's too windy we will cut our losses. I'll be sure to post the results when we get back.

Looking forward to our next visit!
 

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Endurance

Well-Known Member
Snakestang, I am predicting that you will do fine. You have three things going for you. First, if there is a time of year to do a trip like this, you chose it. Second, the early morning arrival at Rainbow Bridge will be your friend. Third, and maybe most important, you have the right attitude in that you aren't afraid to abort if conditions are likely to put you on the rocks.

I understand the need to keep a trip like this within budget. Aramark is pretty proud of the runabouts that some here lovingly refer to as "blue tops." Last I heard, they were charging $300 or $400 a day for them. Even hard kayaks are pricey to rent if you can find them. But at the risk of adding to your budget, might I suggest an inflatable kayak? Even something like an Intex Challenger K2 two-person kayak on Amazon for $91 would add a great element of fun and exploration to your trip. The $91 Amazon kit comes with a pump and paddles, so you have all you need except for life jackets. I'm confident you will have some of those anyway. You have a great trip ahead of you!
Intex%20Challenger%20K2_zpsralius6n.jpg
 
Snakestang, I am predicting that you will do fine. You have three things going for you. First, if there is a time of year to do a trip like this, you chose it. Second, the early morning arrival at Rainbow Bridge will be your friend. Third, and maybe most important, you have the right attitude in that you aren't afraid to abort if conditions are likely to put you on the rocks.

I understand the need to keep a trip like this within budget. Aramark is pretty proud of the runabouts that some here lovingly refer to as "blue tops." Last I heard, they were charging $300 or $400 a day for them. Even hard kayaks are pricey to rent if you can find them. But at the risk of adding to your budget, might I suggest an inflatable kayak? Even something like an Intex Challenger K2 two-person kayak on Amazon for $91 would add a great element of fun and exploration to your trip. The $91 Amazon kit comes with a pump and paddles, so you have all you need except for life jackets. I'm confident you will have some of those anyway. You have a great trip ahead of you!

Thank you! We have considered buying inflatable kayaks or even a cheap tender but getting them across the country is a royal pain. We even consider them disposable but at nearly 40 pounds a piece, it's just one more thing to drag around the airport! You are entirely correct that Aramark is quite proud of their offerings. Last I checked, a two person kayak was close to $400 (each) for a 6 day trip.

We are still tossing around plenty of ideas and not afraid to spend the money on extras but we really don't want to have to tow anything behind the boat if we don't have to. It's just another element of stress we are trying to avoid while we de-stress!

Thanks again for the helpful response!

Chris
 
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