Picture of River Radio- Floating Stereo that ROCKS!

A few years back a friend wanted me to build a floating stereo for his yearly lazy river trip. We didn't have the funds at the time but since I opened up a stereo installation shop I've gotten access to tons of cheap and second hand parts. This year I got invited to go on a lazy river down the Wisconsin river so I knew it was the right time to build a prototype.

The ice chest/cooler boom box has been done 1000 times so I knew I had to think of something different, and I didn't want to completely butcher a working cooler. My original sketches were to made a floating unit that looked like an ocean buoy but that had speakers built into it. My second sketch was to make a tall pyramid of the iconic yellow "Slippery When Wet" sign. However after some thought I decided that I should try to make this particular radio have as low a center of gravity as possible. Many other ideas including cup holders, waterproof storage etc were thrown out in lieu of cost effectiveness and time to build. Bottom line we've got a dedicated stereo with a simple design.

As per usual, I forgot to take as many pictures as I would have liked during the build process, please feel free to ask any questions.


I wanted to say I think your design is amazing. I have built a cooler for the last 3 years using a typical plastic cooler. For this years float I will be going with you design, I never thought about making a personal box. I already have all the equipment for the build but I do have a few questions.

Is their anyway I could get a top view of what the inside of your finished box looks like?

When said you screw the pail to the wood how did you do yours?

I want to do the same setup except not using the 4 6x9 or the header but I want to use 4-6 1/2 along with 2-6x9 and possible to 2-8" subs but using a triangle design. Do you think I could get the same outcome mainly with the balancing the center of gravity?

hamsammy (author)  nicholas.forrest.945 months ago
Hello! Thank you so much! For the bucket I cut a hole in the main horizontal board that was just bigger than the bucket below the flange. So when I dropped the bucket in it rested on the plastic flange. Then I just took some deck screws and put them in horizontally from the inside of the bucket. I used 3/4" wood but for weight I would suggest 1/2". However with 1/2" I would predrill the holes.

Doing a triangle on top shouldn't be a big deal but just
Make sure you get a big enough inner tube to support the extra weight. As for balancing you may have some difficulty organizing the speakers in a way that looks good, sounds good, and has balanced weight. I'll see if I can find a photo of it from the top down. Basically you would have seen the speaker basket from each side, the radio body below that, and then a battery at the bottom of the bucket.
fawn.felty7 months ago
And maybe a blue tooth and a water proof comp for my phone
hamsammy (author)  fawn.felty7 months ago

see your inbox shortly.

fawn.felty7 months ago
Hey I want one would u make me one but upgraded to a mp3 and with a cd player please and how much would it cost including shipping I live in plato missouri 65552 call me at 208 830 6069 and leave me your name and number to return your call thanks
camguy1161 year ago
How light was it and do u think a car battery would work instead of a landowner battery
hamsammy (author)  camguy1161 year ago
It ended up being not too light with everything in it. A car battery might last a little longer but the stereo battery I got lasted all day anyway, so why spend the extra and bear the extra weight? I used a kinetik HC600, not a lawn mower battery.
高明宇1 year ago


How do you access the battery to charge it?
hamsammy (author)  aanderson311 year ago

The top comes off with 4 screws. I just hit them with my cordless drill and I have access to all the electronics.

jsharp21 year ago

No action shots?

hamsammy (author)  jsharp21 year ago

Didn't build waterproof storage into this guy, so I didn't take my phone with on the river. I'll work on it though.

miksim351 year ago
That's awesome
You should put a solar panel on top so you never worry about the battery going dead when out on the water!
hamsammy (author)  Hutch Fix It1 year ago

That's a great idea! I didn't even think about doing that. I may underestimate the power generated by new solar panels and write it off.

boatingman1 year ago
This rocks. Great job on both your project and your instructable. I'm on the water a lot and I love what you've done here.

Haven't done any river tubing for a looooong time. This makes me want to get out on the water really bad. Nice work.