Try This At Home – Build a Boat


“Well I built me a raft and she’s reading for floating…”

- from Black Water by the Doobie Brothers

If you’ve enjoyed our Return of the Titanic Boat Build team building program and want to take the fun home to your kids, here are some hints to help you on your quest.

Archimedes, Betty and Veronica
Buoyancy (a good thing for a boat!) is governed by Archimedes Principle. This Principle states that any body completely or partially submerged in a fluid (gas or liquid) at rest is acted upon by an upward, or buoyant, force the magnitude of which is equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the body.

This means that the most important thing for you to do is displace the water. The more water you displace, the better you float. That’s why cement was actually commonly used to quickly build barges and boats during World War II (don’t try that at home though, folks!). A cubic foot of water weighs about 62 pounds. That means that a 180-pound man will float in a boat that is 1 foot by 1 foot by 3 feet. That’s small! You may want to make yours a little bigger.

Balloons and Guitars
We give teams a wide variety of materials to build their nautical marvels: PVC, ropes, tarps, inflatables, foam, and on and on. You don’t need to get so in-depth though if you’re just trying this out in the pool in your backyard.

Try mixing and matching any of these materials:
To displace the water: empty plastic bottles and jugs, foam noodles, balloons, plastic

Ziploc bags, cardboard
To keep it all together: Tarps, rope, twine, tape
To make a paddle: foam noodles, sticks, tennis rackets, acoustic guitars

Please remember the environment when you assemble and disassemble your craft. Keep your trash to a minimum and when any part of your raft breaks apart (and yes it will), rescue it all and don’t let any of it float off.

Gilligan and Grit – A Three Hour Tour
If at first you don’t succeed, keep trying. Research shows that grit is more important to success in life than intelligence. And remember the Gilligan principle. If you wait long enough, you will be rescued from the island, no matter how many failed attempts you have against you.

Safety First
And remember, safety first! Keep all body parts outside of the raft (so you don’t get tangled up if your boat breaks up), always wear a PFD and if you want to cross the Atlantic in your newly-built raft check a tide chart first.

Tell us about your adventure!
“Sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip…” Send us a photo of your home-made boat and a fish tale and we’ll feature you in a future newsletter! Send it to - Happy boating!

This entry was posted in Play. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
Do you want to be at your best every day?
Subscribe with your email address
Enter Your email address:

Be at your best by following Rob Fletcher on Twitter:@robfletcher1