Before attaching this floor, Bradley filled Tuggy’s hull with about 15 pounds of closed-cell polyurethane foam to generate almost 400 pounds of buoyancy—more than enough to keep his six-foot-two frame afloat. Not being a material that bonds well with adhesives, the aluminum floor had to be sealed with a custom neoprene gasket and clamped down by 320 individual rivets. From there, all Tuggy needed was an aluminum-backed hardwood transom to mount its propulsion: a 12-volt Minn Kota trolling motor.
It’d be one thing to take this creation to a random pond and test it out. But Bradley wanted to use it exactly like a real boat, which meant it needed to be registered and insured. Yeah, he really went all the way with this.
“Our waterways need insurance and registration, so I had to find a marine insurance specialist who would insure a children’s sandbox,” said Bradley. “It took some work, but I did eventually find a company who would cover it, and after a few very, very confused phone calls from their administrative staff—it turned out they’d googled the ‘make and model’ of the ‘boat’—cover was arranged for a full £5,000,000 of third-party liability. And so, a registration certificate was obtained, and it was finally time to hit the water.”
“With the help of a friend, I got Tuggy into a local canal on what was a lovely, warm day. Within seconds it became clear that not only did the Tuggy float and handle like a dream, but also, the sight of a fully grown man in a plastic sandbox playing On a Boat by Lonely Island through his portable speakers was clearly not a normal sight, and very quickly, we were being hounded by dozens of local pub- and restaurant-goers armed with camera phones, and shouting silly things at us!”
Spurred on by Tuggy’s successful 90-minute maiden voyage, Bradley reached out to recruit friends to his nascent Tuggy Navy, and received a resounding response.
“I started to receive DMs from friends who had quickly been out and hoovered up any of these things that appeared for sale again [sic], and now I think we’re up to a full nine ‘Tuggys’ in the process of conversion into proper boats,” continued Bradley, who has already been contacted about a Tuggy race series.
“A local watersports lake, AVOS Watersports Den, offered to host the inaugural Tuggy Championship. An event on a private lake, with no speed limits and shallow water, perfectly suited to getting a load of idiots on plastic children’s sandboxes up to speed, and with a full-on race calendar to suit,” mused Bradley. “So watch this space—the Tuggy Championships might just be the next big thing in boats!”