Elon Musk has been making a bunch of noise about his SpaceX rocket creating a never-before opportunity that many have thought to be impossible. However, while he was busy making headlines, another company has been quietly working on merging two great experiences into one creating a new experience that some have only dreamed of: boating and hot tubbing. Who wouldn’t want to take in beautiful scenery, floating on the water from the comfort of one’s own hot tub?
The story goes like this: While on board his houseboat, Adam Karpenske, a wooden boat shipwright by trade was “desperate for the warmth and comfort that only a hot tub can provide” according to his website. In 2011, he and his crew developed the world’s first Hot Tub Boat. It went out on its maiden voyage on New Year’s Eve and by February of 2012, he was in business. Today he wants nothing more than help people enjoy Seattle’s “sea-nery” with a fun hot tub boating experience.
So, how is it possible to fill a boat with water and have it not sink?
“MAGIC! And the sleek design of a Hot Tub Boat allows for a high load capacity,” says Karpenske. “The Hot Tub Boat has been carefully engineered, and the hot tub is positioned on the boat’s center of buoyancy, allowing for remarkable stability, even with 2500 pounds of water.”
The Hot Tub Boat is a completely custom and original invention. Built entirely in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, the boat can carry 2500lbs of water and 6 grown adults while maintaining stability. The hot tub, which measures 8′ L x 4′ W x 24″ D is surrounded in beautiful teak wood. Not only are these boats for sale, but they can be rented, rain or shine, all year round on Lake Union. And you don’t have to be a sea captain either. These boats offer joystick navigation that is easy to steer (after some practice). After a short driving lesson and safety instructions, you’ll be on your way. Don’t worry about the need to speed – these vessels don’t go much faster than 5 MPH, so they are really pretty safe. Just stay out of the line of boat traffic and you’ll do fine.
While on board, you’ll enjoy adjustable heating (up to 104 degrees), dry storage and plenty of room to spead out. The boat features underwater lighting (for both the boat and hot tub) and surround sound bluetooth speakers. You can eat and drink while on board and travel anywhere you want as long as you’re back within two hours. The one thing you can’t do is go out there nude.
“We ask that you please wear appropriate swim attire, whatever that means to you. Please refrain from nudity while renting a vessel at Hot Tub Boats and insure all the ‘important bits’ are covered. Our goal is to ensure that everyone feels comfortable and welcome on Lake Union,” says the company’s website.
Hot Tub Boats offers a changing room, restroom, storage lockers, and “Seattle’s best shower” with the best soaps, shampoos and conditioners to complete the experience.
Hot Tub Boats also offers Brunch Boats that are catered by Old Ballard Catering Company and The Donut Factory along with a free Epsom soak and towel service.
If you fall in love with the concept, you can purchase your boat for a cool $75,000 from Hammacher Schlemmer or directly through the company.
Across the ocean in the Netherlands, the HotTug is the … well … hot thing. The concept is the same as the Seattle brand, but a totally different design. According to Wired, this Dutch invention was dreamed up by Frank de Bruijn and Jochem Karstanje with a similar foundation to Karpenske’s dream.
“The idea came about because I live on a cargo ship and I really wanted a hot tub,” De Bruijn told Wired in 2012, “But there was too little space for it. Then I developed a floating hot tub. That proved to be so much of a hit that I developed it into a product.”
The tear-shaped tub pretty much takes up the whole boat and the tug is heated by a wood-burning stove! There’s also a waterproof storage space, a swim ladder and a navigation light. It accommodates up to eight people.
Available to ride in Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Helsinki, Finland; Turku Finland; London, United Kingdom and Zurich, Switzerland.
Another company in London, Skuna offers HotTug boats, but they call them Hot Tub Boats. According to their website, Skuna’s hot tub boats originated from “Scandinavia’s famous tradition of the ‘Nordic Bath’ where in a wood-fired hot tub, you can relax and spend time outside in all weather!”
Hot Tub Cruisin
In San Diego, California, Hot Tub Cruisin offer an even different way to enjoy a different hot tub experience. Rather than having a boat that is built around a hot tub, Cruisin’s boats have a lot more space with a traditional hot tub placed in the middle. The company offers two different boats to rent with one being able to hold up to eight people and the other, up to 12. (The hot tubs onboard hold up to eight people on the larger boat and six for the smaller one.)
Despite the larger size of boat, virtually anyone can drive it as it is pretty easy to operate with a regular-sized steering wheel. Like the other boats mentioned, it has a top speed of 5 MPH. The boat features a nice sound system that will connect to any device, an optional propane grill, two coolers and dry storage.
Main Image: Hot Tub Boats
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.