The Andover teens built their own pontoon-style boat this summer.
In search of something to do in the warmer months and their own way to enjoy the local lakes, eight teens decided to implement an idea that was launched as a joke last year at Andover High School. .
âWe have fishing boats, but there isn’t enough space and you can’t have that many people on board,â said Jake Dunsmoor, 16. âSo we just thought, build our own – do it the way we want to. “
âUsâ includes Joey Zaske, Shawn Poetsch, Matt Zaske, Ryan Tupy, Brandon and Blake Lofgren and Tyler Christy – all of whom will be seniors this year and turn 17.
Approximately 13 feet long, the square boat has a plywood deck covered with green grass and six plastic barrels attached to the bottom for buoyancy.
The teens searched the Facebook Marketplace for lumber, finding someone who gave them old pallets that they used to frame the boat. All materials, other than about $ 100 in sod, were salvaged.
It took about a day’s work to assemble the boat, but it took a little longer to find the engine and trailer to pull it. The engine came from a friend, whose late grandfather had it.
Then the boys found a 20ft trailer to haul the boat, which posed its own problem. It turned out that the trailer was slightly too wide for the boat, forcing the boys to pull out two barrels, for a current count of six barrels, to make wheel arches.
With six barrels, the boat was able to hold about 1,200 pounds, or seven teenagers in total.
Powered by a single outboard motor, the “pontoon” peaks at 5 mph and requires about 3 gallons of gasoline to get around Crooked Lake.
Other boaters asked if the boys built the boat themselves. One person reportedly offered $ 1,000 for it – although Dunsmoor was not sure how serious the offer was, he said.
âThey thought it was a parade float until we put an engine on it,â said Joey Zaske.
So far they have gone fishing and swimming out of the boat and they are looking for ways to further improve their design. Some ideas included adding a diving board and expanding the boat.
Dunsmoor would like to lengthen and widen the boat, so that it can have 10 barrels that hold it in without them rubbing on the wheels.
âMaybe a bigger engine, because it’s going to be really slow,â Dunsmoor said.