First, we had tiny homes, Now we have tiny boats. Bay Area maker Josh Tulberg of Rapid Whale decided to embark on a build of his own. But he wanted his Mini Boat to be shorter than the rest, so took to sketching, modeling in Solidworks and testing a 1:2.2 scale model in a hot tub before laser cutting and 3D-printing a petite electric single-seater and sploshing it in the water. Now the teeny electric boat is being made available as a build-it-yourself kit.
Tulberg’s dinky little electric boat is 6 foot (1.8 m) long and weighs just over 100 lb (48 kg). It can be transported to the water in the back of a family car (with the back seats folded down) and the motor/battery installed at the river bank. It has a flat-bottomed hull for on-the-water stability and is constructed mainly from laser cut plywood, with some 3D-printed components and epoxy for waterproofing. Internal bulkheads keep it afloat even when the craft takes on water.
A rope-tie control system runs over a pulley at the rear and connects to the chunky plexiglass steering wheel to the front. To the right of the steering wheel is a dead-man’s switch and 5 forward/3 reverse throttle control, and to the left a volt meter and a power switch. And there’s a small amount of storage above the dash for stowing essentials. There’s a handy safety light at the front for improved visibility, too.
A removable 12 V sealed lead acid battery provides the juice (though two can be strapped in if required), which is positioned behind the thickly-padded seat and cabled to the outboard trolling motor via a four-pronged connector. The Mini Boat can take a single occupant under 6’2″ (188 cm) tall and weighing 200 lb (91 kg) or less, and is reported capable of motoring along at 3.5 knots (4 mph/6.4 km/h).