Mother and son hope bottle boat floats

Jennifer Vermeulen Anderson and her son Adam Anderson, 16, with their plastic bottle boat. IAN...

Jennifer Vermeulen Anderson and her son Adam Anderson, 16, with their plastic bottle boat. IAN MACALPINE/THE WHIG-STANDARD

Ian MacAlpine, Kingston Whig-Standard

, Last Updated: 12:08 AM ET

KINGSTON, Ont. -- A mother and son have teamed up to build a boat. Not just any kind of boat, rather one built almost entirely out of plastic bottles.

And they're hoping it will float.

Jennifer Vermeulen Anderson and her 16-year-old son, Adam, have been building the boat in their west-end Kingston garage for the last three years.

On Friday, about a dozen family and friends pitched in to get the boat on top of a trailer where it was to go on parade past Holy Cross Secondary School.

But the one lingering question regarding the boat, named Big Bob, will it float?

"I hope he floats," said Vermeulen Anderson. "He's all made of bottles," she said, adding that she hasn't done any research on buoyancy or the seaworthiness of a plastic bottle boat.

Vermeulen Anderson thought it would be a fun project to work on with her son and she, ahem, floated the idea of the unusual boat.

"What do you think about building it out of water bottles?" she said to her son.

She estimates there's almost 3,000 bottles in the boat.

Vermeulen Anderson collected water, pop and juice bottles from her workplace at Kingston General hospital as well as some chemical cleaning bottles. All the bottles were cleaned before being put in the boat she added.

As the project got going, it soon became larger and larger, ultimately producing a boat measuring four by two metres in size.

"All of a sudden we have a 13-by-seven foot monstrosity," she said.

"Our project could have gone a little quicker, but we've enjoyed it for three years and now we don't even know if Bob's going to float, but we're sure hoping so."

If it can't be used as a boat it will become a swimming platform.

"He's got lots of bottles in him so he's pretty much made all of plastic."

Other plastic materials used in the creation include PVC pipes, zip ties and plastic signs.

"It's kind of a neat attraction. Big Bob has taken on a life of its own, we have no idea what's going to happen to him or where he's going to end up going."

She said on Friday it was to go up to their trailer near Jones Falls. If it proves seaworthy it will be donated to the Village of Seeleys Bay for its Canada Day festivities.

In addition to all the donated bottles, she said she's spent under $1,000 with the bulk of their costs going to zip ties.

"Everything that we've bought through this whole process has been kind of eco. It was either plastic or something we've bought at Value Village."

"It was really three years and by trial and error."

"We hope it'll be something that can be used and donated so people can have some fun on it," She said.

Adam Anderson said the boat building was his mother's idea.

"My mom just randomly came home and said 'let's build a boat made out of water bottles' and we started that day with a few simple designs." said Adam.

"The process has been enjoyable."

ian.macalpine@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/IanMacAlpine


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