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Water Bottle Raft Answered

Finished Project - https://www.instructables.com/id/Project_rRaft_Building_a_Raft_out_of_Water_Bottl/

After thinking about Reishee and his island, I asked my mom if I could build an island from water bottles...the idea was rejected. I asked my mom if I could build a raft, and she said sure...so i've started collecting water bottles. Not only does the final result get me excited, but people's responses do as well. Of course there are those who think i'm crazy (as there are with any of my schemes), but there are so many more who just love the idea, and get enthralled in it. A friend in crew is going to empty the boat house recycling bin for me, a teacher told me that the recycling bin in the teacher work room is over flowing, many more offer to collect water bottles from their families, and bring in the 20+ bottles from their cars.

I bring a bag to school to collect them, and collect bottles from people...just being a part of this great recycling project (I want it to be 98% recycled) excites people, so when they see one person donate a bottle, others will hurry to finish their water and donate it to the cause as well.

The whole thing has just opened my eyes to how many bottles are thrown out, instead of being recycled...it's amazing.

Just because people will probably be asking, this is my plan:
  • Two large water bottle pontoons will be on either side
  • A wooden frame/deck will be clipped onto the pontoons via eye bolts and carabiners
  • Homemade oars

That's the basics...I hope to have some luxuries too:
  • Big ole water tight cooler bolted onto the back for storage
  • Two stadium seats bolted onto the deck to sit on

To keep up with the raft, visit rraft.blogspot.com



10 years ago

I just used a bunch of plastic milk crates filled with water bottles and zip tied together.


wow how many did you use and where did you get them?

ummmmm if I remember correctly I used 6 for the one with a 35 gallon drum in the middle and 12 for the raft with just milk crates .

I once built a raft out of 5-gallon water jugs and sailed it across the Charles river in Boston. It was actually designed to fail halfway and dump everyone in the water, which had the crowd watching from the Harvard bridge laughing for months.

Are those your planned proportions? I'd make it longer front-to-back to make it easier to keep in line.

Not a problem. How are you planning to fasten the bottles together? Lashings? Tape? Or are you going to bag them up and fasten the bags to the deck?

I"m not sure exactly how the pontoons will be made...i've thought about fishing nets to hold them together, which would be attached to the frame with biners.

Fishing nets will probably be the easiest. I've been trying to think about other ways to do it, but almost every other solution is going to be adding unnecessary weight. Hell, you could probably even weave nets out of plastic grocery bags!

You could get people to help you! And maybe you could braid them instead? Hold on. I'm going to go try. :P

Okay, so turns out you can't braid the entire bag (in strip form) because it gets so tangled up. I got about 10-15 feet from each bag. So I braided a 6 foot-ish long segment (really should have measured beforehand) and ended up with 40 inches of rope and it's really actually really strong. :D

...and how many feet of rope would i need for enough nets to hold two pontoons of hundreds of bottles each?

Come up with an exact bottle figure and I could try to figure it out.

Second attempt:
100 inches of strips + 20 minutes of braiding = 80 inches of rope. Woot!

Weaving as in making the net or making the rope? (Just want to make sure we're talking about the same thing. :P)

Hmm. Depends, I guess. We'd have to figure out how to do it. I'll have to start googling to get ideas...

I'll see what works best. I just finished cutting three Target bags into strips, but I have to go check the laundry... so progess will be updated in a few minutes. :P

Thats what I'd suggest -- as water can't be trapped inside it... and maybe you can catch a few fishies!

What about drilling a whole bunch of holes in a sheet of plywood, and slot the neck of a bottle into each. A bit of hot-glue in the holes to hold the bottles in place, then turn it over, bottles down, to make the pontoon?

I don't think you realize how many bottles we're talking about...

Probably hundreds - a big lump of ply and a hole-saw for half a day.

Or ask round a bunch of friends with hole-saws - spend an hour or two sawing and then a couple of hours sitting round with a brew or three.

Thanks for the links..i had seen the first one, but not the other two. Right now my biggest problem is just getting water bottles! That second link is really funny to look at.


10 years ago

thats an excellent idea! what i would do with the bottles is make a line attached together and roll it up for a pontoon, to do this you would have to run some thread and a needle through the bottles and make like a flexible carpet, then simply roll it up!

Go the spiral design... oh sool cool!!! I have been a great fan of reishee's island for many years.. . I believe it inspired me, on his first attempt back when he was living in a tent.... The only thing stopping me, from dedicating a good protion of my life creating one of these marvels of the modern world is:- 1. They need constant maintanance (bottle's loose their bouyancy after several years and need to be replaced/more added to compensate. 2. Heavy gauge fishing net's seem to be optimum... Yet these cost money (I could purchase these now to build it, but on-going cost would be an issue if I did not have an income...) The "funding" is the main thing. Reishee seems to be getting plenty of support from fund raising. But I would imagine he has a support network to allow this and I do not... Perhaps If I build it, they will come? ;)

How can bottles lose their buoyancy? ...Reishee gets a lot of donations from tourists (100+ visitors a day)

Not to sure myself.... I'd imagine due to the constant weight, they might de-grade or tranfer oxygen through the plastic??? Just read it several time's on Spiral island site's. Reishee apparently needs, to constantly add new bottles to sections of the island, as well as to the spiral... I'll see if i can find the quote.. ;) Not that this will be a problem on your project... :)

that's interesting...could he not remove sections, open em up, close them again, and put the section back under the island?

The seal on the cap will lose it's integrity over time, allowing water to seep in (but it's a very slow process) I've seen the video, apparently he needs to dive to work on them from underneath. And the tree roots seems to grow between the bottles and hold them as well. Think he's going to need to scuba dive if the island gets bigger.

Yes, I believe that would be possible.... But due to the unique but flawed spiral design... I assume they are some-what intergrated and "locked in" so to speak... I don't believe, he had thought this would have been an issue, prior to starting... I didn't think bottles lost buoyancy either... He finds it easier/prefers just to keep adding... but that's only what i've read...

I have seen in fiji a raft of cocoanuts coming down the river, held together with a fishing ne..I asked the guy what he was transporting. He said...You guessed it...cocoanuts!!!