swim up bar boat

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by headtofoot, Jan 27, 2014.

  1. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    Yes. It's called a boat!

    By the way, I don't know about elsewhere but in the USA if you want to do this it would probably be considered carrying passengers for hire and require Coast Guard inspection and certification, and I'm sure the inspectors would want to check out the merchandise (off duty of course).
    BlueBell likes this.
  2. BarCraft
    Joined: May 2020
    Posts: 4
    Likes: 1, Points: 3
    Location: Texas

    BarCraft New Member

    You are correct. In my jurisdiction (inland waters of Texas) this operation will, in fact, be considered "carrying passengers for hire". This requires the operator to be licensed and complete the required boat safety courses; imposes capacity limits on the number of passengers; and requires a minimum amount of liability insurance to be carried on the vessel. Coast Guard inspections and certifications would be required annually, unless the boat is less than 30' in length.

    For that reason, I'm working desperately to keep the vessel in the 18'-25' range and squeeze as much weight capacity as I can get out of a small craft. I'm already dealing with permits, certifications, and inspections from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and the County Health Department. I don't need another inspector. My staff is already prepared to pour a cold one on the house for anyone who shows up with a badge and a clipboard.

    Oddly, I've seen more input from this forum on the feasibility of running a bar than the feasibility of the boat design. I thought surely someone on boatdesign.net would have an informed opinion about safely managing the distribution of weight starboard and port when the patrons are sitting outside of the pontoons. So far, @clmanges has been the only one to weigh in on that subject. The guys at one of the metal fab shops I bid for the project didn't seem to think it would be a big deal, but they tend to work on docks not boats. They suggested mounting some form of flotation (like float bags or some seat cushions) under the bar top. I can see how that would add buoyancy to the side that's bearing the most weight, which sounds like a tidy solution to me. But the stakes are awfully high. I'd love to gather second opinions from the people who build boats.

  3. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    The design is very feasible. However, now you're talking design services which most people don't do for free. Except idiots like me who are retired. Sure you could design a system using inflatable bags to support a person. They would have to inflate when the person sat at the bar and deflate when they left to keep the boat in balance, If you limit the boat to 6 or less then you would need six of these, one for each person. You would need a system that rapidly inflates/deflates the bag. That could get expensive. Better to have a set up where someone stays in the water and the water supports their weight, or a life vest or similar that the person puts on, that is attached to the bar so the persons weight is supported without a lot of effort. Of course swimming and drinking don't mix well. A lot of drownings are due to intoxication. So if the person had more than a sip or two you would become responsible for their safe return to shore. There are a lot of liability issues with this idea.
    bajansailor likes this.
  4. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Barbados

    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    I designed a floating bar for a retired English gentleman here 20 years ago - it was his dream to have his own beach bar here when he retired, however the astronomical cost of beach front real estate here quickly dampened his enthusiasm.
    Until somebody put him on to me, and I suggested that we could build him a floating beach bar.
    And we did. She had room for 40 thirsty drinkers, and with a pair of high thrust 50 hp O/B motors on the transoms she could go on little party cruises as well.
    But the owner's main ambition was to offer opposition to an established beach bar here that had gone 'up market' and had raised their prices considerably.
    He parked his floating beach bar opposite the bar ashore, hung up a sign advertising cold beer at half the price that the punters ashore were paying, and many of the punters 'jumped ship' with enthusiasm.
    The floating beach bar made the shore bar bring their prices down to compete against him. :)
    Here are a few photos.

    In the final outfitting stages prior to launching -
    Rumpy Pumpy _0002.jpg

    Maiden voyage
    Rumpy Pumpy _0003.jpg

    She has a bow ramp for easy access from the beach
    Rumpy Pumpy _0004.jpg

    The building on the beach was her opposition
    RP at Mullins.jpg

  5. Squidly-Diddly
    Joined: Sep 2007
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    Location: SF bay

    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

    My instinct would be go big on fixed buoyancy, then compensate with uneven loading with Phat Saks. Reason is with Saks in an emergency you could slice them open and regain buoyancy VS being maxed out on buoyancy with "nowhere to go but down". Then again its adding weight, so whole boat needs to be incrementally bigger and more expensive due to Growth Factor.

    Design-In places for the Saks, including place to run hoses from side to side, and figure out how big of Saks and Pumps you need as you go. Rig a switch so the bartender can keep the boat more or less level, or could be semi-automatic but don't think that would be needed. What would be niffy is if you could 1/2 fill both sides with fresh water to at least use for cleaning during bar operations. Not sure when it would be considered "grey water" but you can never have enough fresh water to spray around.

    The Saks look pretty cheap and if turns out not needed at least you'd be able to sell them.
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