Barrel Raft Plan

Please Note: Our raft is still in the design phase and will continue to be modified until the building begins in June, 2014. Dimensions, mechanisms, and amenities of the raft will be determined by materials we can obtain between now and then. Check back, or follow us to get updates or share any ideas you may have. We’d love to hear from you!


After some internet research, I decided to sketch out my idea for the barrel raft. I was reading about flow dynamics and hydrodynamics to see which principles we should include to maximize our flow rate.

  • Flat stern is our powerhouse of motion, we need to maximize the flat surface area increasing the amount of push.
  • Pointed or rounded bow disperses the water evenly and away from the craft reducing friction against the slower moving surface water and waves. Splash guard is recommended.


Rob recommended we look into a pontoon-layout to enhance stability and reduce number of barrels.

6 mechanisms to naturally propel our raft

  1. Bicycle-driven water paddle
  2. Bicycle-driven propellor
  3. Oars or Paddles to row
  4. Hydrofoil is an underwater current catcher, it could be static or removable
  5. Wind Sail option on days
  6. water sail (pull) and water anchor (keep craft steady pointing down stream)
The dimensions 10’x18’ would need 18 polyurethane barrels to support it. Our craft could overhang or barrels could be spaced to make a larger platform, although spacing may reduce push surface area.