How to Build a Boat Made of Trash & Recyclables!





Introduction: How to Build a Boat Made of Trash & Recyclables!

We are hosting a Recycled Boat building contest @ Saluda Shoals Park in Columbia SC. This is a quickie guide on how to make a boat. This is just an example. Go out and find your own trash! Building a boat can be a great activity for the whole family to enjoy!! Check out my new blog at

Step 1: Make a Plan!

Building a trash boat is the coolest thing since building pepsi can stoves. Everybody is doing it! The first step is to make a plan. How many people do you want it to hold? Where do you plan sailing this incredible vessel? Do you plan on sailing it? What about people power? What kind of junk are you going to use? Do you want to stick to strict "must be recyclable only" guidelines?

Our plan consisted of conversations, occasional drawing on napkins and late night brainstormings. Remember, you don't want to pollute the river or lake in which you plan to cruise. So whatever you decide - give a hoot! Don't pollute!

The picture here shows some old containers we are using for pontoons. But anything that floats should do fine. What about lots of milk jugs? or 5 gallon water containers? Don't buy 'em! Look around! Stop something useful from entering the waste stream!!

Step 2: Go Look for Trash!

Trash is easy to find! I like to look in dumpsters, behind grocery stores, recycling centers, my neighbors backyard. That grocery cart looks promising! Trash makes Allen super happy! Look at that grin!

We happened to find that perfectly good grocery buggy in the dump! I know!! Its a perfectly good buggy! Anyway, we haven't found a place for it yet but we are still in the prototype stage. We have many weeks to finalize our design.

Step 3: Get to Building!

Trash is great. You don't want to use trash to secure your boat though! Don't use trashy duct tape or old rusty nails to secure your boat! Buy new or steal from your parents! We used Gorilla Glue Duct Tape - its the strongest thing i have ever seen (besides Allen's biceps!) We also used those cool straps with buckles. You may also want to seal up any holes you might find. the "pontoons" you see in these pics are actually old containers (maybe for oil?) and one had a hole in it. We didn't realize this until it started to sink. Its a good thing I was tied to good old terra firma with such a sturdy line!

We are realizing that paddles must be made. Remember kids: don't buy 'em - make 'em! Old brooms or rakes make great handles. We might even make some sort of paddle boat design... this might take some good old fashioned Allen ingenuity! We call it STREET KNOWLEDGE!!!

Step 4: Keep Building!

Listen, building a boat out of trash takes hard work, dedication and a sense of humor! Don't give up! If all else fails add more trash! Remember: when documenting your hard work and creative endeavors take your finger off of the lens! Amateur mistakes like these can cost you time, cool points and possible friends wanting their well deserved 15 minutes of fame! I am sorry Ranger Heather!!.

Step 5: Put That Bad Boy in the WATER!!!

Dump your boat carefully into the water. Do not fling or catapult the boat from a distance. This is your pride and joy. Treat it like the tedious friendships you have with movie stars. Don't bother it too much or it won't like you anymore and may even leave you stranded.

The SS. P! To captain such a mighty vessel!!! If only there was room for everyone aboard. I am sure there are many who would like to share in my journey. But I must go it alone for now...

Step 6: Enter Your Boat in a Contest! Preferrably Ours!

Now that your boat has been tested and you are happy its time to show it off to your friends, family and prospective employers! Everyone will be so happy to hear of your success! Don't keep it to yourself my friend! Enter your boat in Saluda Shoals Park's first annual Recycled Regatta that will be held May Tenth in Columbia SC!

Email Park Ranger Jay for registration info and more!



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    68 Discussions

    I know your boat is for fun but homeless people need places to sleep and if they can build a hammock raft they could get a decent place to sleep away from brain dead teens or cops. I saw some cool projects where they made nice structures that would serve a HL person perfectly.

    1 reply

    Brain dead teens? Wth? This post has ZERO to do with homeless people. It's honorable that you are a voice for others, but why force it down our throats? If I missed something here please tell me but, again why are you using this post to promote your agenda?

    Heres a tip, dont use so many exclamation marks. it makes you look waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy too overly annoyingly enthusiastic and, i for one, find it annoying. Exclamation marks are meant for certain purposes, not to be used after almost every sentence.

    1 reply

    *gets out my fiddle & starts playin funeral music...*

    Some people like me are just that way...DEAL WITH IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    A friend and I made a boat out of an old barn door and some milk gallons. We saved up gallon milk jugs for a while, then roped them in lines around the door. We stapled the ropes down, grabbed some lawn chairs and a snow shovel, and paddled off into the local creek. :) It was a blast. The first time it would only hold me, but the next time we added more gallon jugs. Right now we have 44 jugs on there and we're ready to hit the creek for the summer! Each gallon supports 8.33 pounds, and our boat probably holds 325 pounds. This picture was from the maiden voyage of the original.

    1 reply

    backin the late 70s some fellas made a raft out of 6 ea 55 gal barrels and a vw bug body

     This is awesome- may I ask where you got your 'flagpole' from? 

    I have seen boats like these hold 6 or 8 passengers on the local news here in Miami FL. Usually intercepted by the US Coast Guard or abandoned along the Miami River! Keep your passports ready LOL!

    You can find barrels like that along a river. I live near the ohio river and i saw about 8 the last time i was there.

    how many people can fit on this boat? like have you ever tried punting three board like this B==B like that or can it like hold a certain ammout of pound`z

    I used to make barrel pallet rafts as a kid. I grew up with no neighbors or siblings. I'd launch em in an old gravel pit that had turned into a pond. They were great fun. They never sank. Thanks for bringing back memories.