One Person Water Scooter

You can open up a whole new world of summer fun with this easy, do-it-yourself bumper boat/water scooter.


| May/June 1981



069 bumper boat water scooter - main view

The inflated and assembled bumper boat water scooter looks like this.


PHOTO: ROBERT PENTECOST

I can't speak for anybody else, but there's been many a time when — while fishing in the river near my home — I'd dream of trading in my waders on a tidy little dinghy that'd carry me and my tackle out to where I knew the big ones lurked.

This season, though, I don't have to daydream (well, not about boats, at any rate), because I've recently built — for a grand total of $44.75 — a nifty little craft that suits both my fishing and frolicking needs, and stows away easily in the trunk of my car when the fun's over.

The idea came to me after I'd noticed an amusement park that offered a "bumper boat" attraction using small commercial boats instead of cars. The little craft were made of custom-molded vinyl and sported gasoline-fueled outboard engines — along with, I discovered, big price tags!

My homemade water scooter, on the other hand, consists of a used 16.9-by-28-inch tractor inner tube, three pieces of 1/2-inch exterior (CDX) plywood trimmed to shape, two lengths of electrical conduit, an assortment of threaded hardware, a 1 1/4-inch floor flange, and a 1 1/4-inch E.M.T.-to-junction-box connector. The boat's power source — which I chose to incorporate simply because I couldn't pass up a $15 bargain — is a used electric trolling motor that's hooked to an old car battery. However, for extended jaunts, I'd recommend employing a deep-cycle RV or marine powerpack instead. (Gasoline-driven outboards shouldn't be used with an inflatable boat, as the fuel might melt the inner tube's rubber skin.)

Build It in an Hour or Two

After I'd gathered my materials and tools (screwdriver, adjustable wrench, mallet, C-clamps, saber saw and a drill with an assortment of bits), it didn't take me much more than an hour to trim, assemble and paint my vessel. And, if you're as handy with tools as I am (and Lord knows I'm no workshop wonder), building your own pneumatic cruiser ought to be a snap!





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