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  #1  
Old 03-29-2011
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Oars for dinghy

I purchased a used inflatable dinghy that didn't come with the stock oars. It's a Silvermarine Nemo 250, 8' 2". What would be the proper oar length for a dinghy this size?

The oarlock is a metal pin that goes through the oar and then there is a cap that screws onto the end of the pin to hold the oar on. I think these are the same oarlocks as used on Mercury inflatables. Do I need a special oar for this? Or can I just get a wooden oar and drill a hole in it at the appropriate place?
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Old 03-29-2011
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If you expect to generally have two people aboard the dinghy most times just get some canoe paddles... it's much easier for two to paddle than to row these things.. Even alone you can scull from the bow with a single paddle if you don't have far to go.

With the oarlocks often the tubes themselves interfere with the shortish oars that are provided. The longest oars you can carry would probably be best and you may be able to adapt the pin to a standard wooden oar.
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Old 03-29-2011
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Hadn't thought of using paddles.

Defender has some Mercury oars for a 240 dinghy for $43 (but they don't say how long they are) and a 5.5' jointed aluminum oar a oarlock hole for $45. Locally I can get wooden oars about 6' for around $15. And a jointed 6.5' wooden oar for $22. Half the price or less, not counting what it will cost to ship the oars.

Of course, I don't know if the wooden ones can work with a hole. Will they just split?
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Old 03-31-2011
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Silvermarine responded to my email. They sent a nice high-res picture of the oar and said, "it is aluminium material, 2 knots and 1.44m in length." Not sure what 2 knots means. Maybe they mean two parts, as it's clearly jointed in the middle. Rather short it seems.

I think I'll try some 6' wooden oars which I can carry in the same space under the cockpit the deflated dinghy fits in. I should be able to approximate the intended position of the oarlock pin hole from the picture.
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Old 04-01-2011
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As someone who primarily rows a hard dinghy but has a (Mercury) inflatable for cruises crossing open water, I second the notion of longer is better because the tubes do get in the way. I don't own an outboard because I don't want to have to maintain it, carry gas, etc.
I made a pair with some 1-1/2" sq. oak and plywood blades reinforced with fiberglass. If making again, I would make longer. Mercury oars are 61 - 62". Ones I made are 69".
Rows OK, but not in any kind of breeze.
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Old 04-02-2011
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Somehow I think I have two sets of oars for my inflatable dinghy. I'll check, if I do you are welcome to the second set.

Gary H. Lucas
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Old 04-07-2011
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Gary, thanks for the offer. Unless you're local to Seattle the cost to ship some oars probably is more than their worth.

Shortman, what did you do for the oarlocks? Just drill a hole in the oar to go onto the oarlock pin? Or did you do something to reinforce it?

I'm worried that the oar will split with a 10mm (pin is slightly over 3/8") hole in it. I was thinking of wrapping fiberglass around it or maybe some line. Seems like there must have been a technique from before fiberglass and aluminum when spars were made of wood for when you wanted a hole in the spar and didn't want it to split. I'm envisioning a service of tightly coiled marline with some sort of Turk's head around the hole, sealed to the oar with shellac. Probably will not turn out looking as nice in real life as it does in my head.

Or maybe a hammered copper band for reinforcement. I saw this on tv, Episode Guide - Season 3, Episode 310 - Woodsmith Shop, where they used a bit of copper pipe to make a nice looking band to hold a wooden tool handle closed.

I'll be sure to get at least 6' oars whatever I do.
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