Captain Larry Jarboe operates a small fleet of Wavewalk 700 and S4 fishing kayaks, as well as two commercial fishing boats, out of his docks in Key Largo, Florida. He uses these kayak – skiffs and boats to provide fishing, diving and touring guide services to tourists and local residents of the Keys and southern Florida.
Captain Jarboe, a master tonnage captain, has become increasingly aware of the commercial potential of the Wavewalk S4 kayak skiff for his business, both as a paddle craft (canoe / kayak) and motorized with a portable, lightweight outboard motor.
But he also found a way to take this high performance and extremely versatile skiff to a higher level, namely use it to comfortably transport a number of passengers that he could have previously transported only in a full-size fishing boat. He created a multi-boat watercraft composed of three Wavewalk S4 skiffs attached in parallel. The middle one is motorized, and the two skiffs on the sides are attached to it by ropes that can be easily detached in case the passengers feel like continuing the journey by themselves, independently, whether in a paddling mode (canoeing or kayaking), or in a motorized mode.
The following video shows Captain Jarboe’s multi-hull multi-boat in action –
In technical terms, this modular watercraft is composed of three catamaran kayaks.
It can take up to six adult passengers – three in each of the side boats, plus the captain, who’s driving it from the middle boat. Its total load capacity is close to 2,000 lbs, which is the equivalent to the load capacity of a fairly large leisure boat, or skiff. The passengers can sit in various positions, and stand up anytime they want.
Captain Jarboe experimented with various configurations of this boat, and he found that attaching the two side boats slightly in front of the central boat provided optimal results as far as control goes, and minimizing spray intake from the bow.
This modular watercraft is extremely stable and seaworthy, yet nimble enough to allow for trips in the mangrove creeks around Key Largo, as can be seen in the video.
In a broader sense, this new concept opens new possibilities in leisure boating, namely using the same smaller boats separately as kayaks (under paddle) or skiffs (motorized) for crews of one to three persons, and as a multi-passenger boat with room on board for up to nine adult passengers, for leisure and fishing trips and for entertaining guests, family, etc.
In other words, instead of having a big and expensive pontoon boat attached to your dock, plus a multiple canoes and kayaks, you could have use three Wavewalk S4 kayak-skiffs, and easily create an ad-hoc big boat out of them anytime you need to.
Captain Jarboe’s innovative concept also opens the door for guides on a budget, who can operate a fleet of small, very shallow draft and relatively inexpensive boats that offer a wide variety of services, rather than a big and expensive boat that offers a limited range of services, and is also limited to traveling in much deeper water.
The following photo shows three fishermen fishing standing out of a Wavewalk S4, which is outfitted with a 6 HP outboard motor –
In other words, Captain Jarboe’s multi-boat dubbed S4x3 can be used by groups of fishers who need to cross rough waters on their way to fishing the flats, or mangrove creeks, and back from there. The advantage of this concept over using big motorboats is the ability to fish shallow water without fear of reefs, oyster beds, sand bars and low tides. Its advantage over using kayaks is the bigger range of travel, better comfort, better stability, and many times more storage space – both in a joint configuration and separately.