Boats Made From Unusual Materials

Boats are usually made from wood, iron, steel, aluminum or fiberglass. Interestingly, there are boaters who create their own out of their desired materials or scraps just to make something unique. Here’s a compilation of boats made from unusual materials.

1. Truck boat

This homemade boat made headlines because of its authenticity and inventiveness. A Cuban family tried to reach Florida illegally using a bright green 1951 Chevy pickup converted into a boat in 2003. Photos of it widely circulated when the US Coast Guard found it 40 miles off the Florida coast. The quality of the vessel design is amazing: it had a propeller to the drive-shaft and a rigging floatation along the sides so that the truck can still be driven on land. Unfortunately, the Coast Guard sank the Chevy boat and sent the family back to Cuba.

In 2004, the family tried to enter the US again through a homemade boat: this time using a Buick sedan. But again, the same thing happened. They should have kept it and study how the inventive Cubans can be.

2. Guitar boat

Rocking on a guitar looks cool, but riding on a big one floating in the waters seems a lot cooler. An Australian indie rocker named Josh Pyke had a custom-built speedboat that is an exact but giant replica of his favorite guitar. His guitar boat was prominently featured on his music video Make You Happy, where you can see him riding his guitar boat and sailed it across the waters. Pyke took the acoustic speedboat on tour to promote his album, and after that, he sold it on eBay for $7,000. Proceeds from the sale went to the charity Indigenous Literacy Project.

3. Cardboard boat

It’s unlikely to build a boat using cardboard, but races involving cardboard boats actually happen. The Southern Illinois University started it all in 1962 by building them for a design class project. Since then, building and racing watercraft out of cardboard has become popular and events were held around the country. The largest cardboard boat racing event is the International Cardboard Boat Regatta in New Richmond, Ohio. The boats are taken care of by the Cardboard Boat Museum. A tip for those who would like to build one: use duct tape. Prepare lots of it.

Chopstick canoe4. Chopstick canoe

Wood is an ancient building material for boats, but a Japanese retired city hall employee added an environment-friendly twist by making use of discarded wooden chopsticks to build a canoe. Bothered that a good wood was just going to the trash after a single use, Shuhei Ogawara spent two years of his life collecting 7,382 discarded wooden chopsticks from his office cafeteria. He glued them together for three months and applied a polyester coat to build a canoe that is 13-foot long and 66 pounds heavy. The canoe looks snazzy but heavier than a regular canoe. Ogawara wasn’t sure if the boat will float but the important thing is he made something gorgeous out of trash.

Plastic bottle catamaran5. Plastic bottle catamaran

There are many things you can do to recycle a plastic bottle, and using it to build a boat is one. But of course, you have to stock up a lot of them. A catamaran named Plastiki is made out of 12,500 reclaimed plastic bottles and other recycled plastic and waste products. They were glued together in a cradle to cradle design, and made use of renewable energy systems like solar panels, bicycle generators, and wind and trailing propeller turbines. Plastiki is 60 feet long, and it sailed across the Pacific for 128 days in 2010. After its voyage with Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl, the boat was towed to the Australian National Maritime Museum.

6. Milk jug barge

If you’re one of those people who save their large four-liter milk jugs for possible future use, let us give you a suggestion: create a barge. Make a square frame using wood and lay it down on a large piece of chicken wire. Line up the jugs inside and close off the top using more chicken wire. Bind the wire together and cap it off with a with your preferred decking material. If you want to make it look fancier, cover the hull with a tarp and add a mount for an electric motor. Now you’re ready to sail.

7. Ferrocement boat

For a sturdier boat, use cement! It might sound contrary to common sense (hello, we’re talking about boats here), but if you want to build one longer than 20 feet, cement actually makes a perfect material. All you need is to build a boat skeleton out of wood, then staple on several layers of chicken wire and lay about an inch of cement over it. You don’t expect it to be fast, but at least it’s strong unlike other boats made of materials glued together.

Glass kayak8. Glass kayak

Wanna have a good view of the waters under you as you sail into the sea? Get inside a Molokini kayak, the first transparent kayak on the market, and have fun looking down tropical reefs. It is constructed using lightweight aluminum tubing and clear polycarbonate plastic and can carry up to 425 lbs. However, the company selling it received a lot of negative feedback from its clients trying to buy their transparent boats because they had to wait for many months to get them even after paying. Eventually, other companies stepped into the market to sell good quality transparent boats like the See Through Canoe and Klear Kanoo. Each of these firms sells kayaks that are slightly different, but both completely transparent.