Buzy Bee--A Motorized Glass-Bottom Boat


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  • Pub No.: 5293
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by Hal Kelly

Built in a weekend, "Bee" has a built-on viewing window, dead man's throttle and shielded prop for added safety.

"Buzy Bee" is not a toy, but a real fun boat designed to cover a lot of territory. A Plexiglas window allows skin divers or the merely curious to clearly see what’s on the bottom. You can use "Buzy Bee" for fishing, shell collecting, or simply puttering around in the summer sun. There’s space aboard for small equipment, such as a spear gun or gaff, or even a small anchor if you want to moor away from shore. And, perhaps best of all, you can build it yourself in one weekend, for about $100 including the engine. The "Bee" will idle along at barely more than a standstill, or step along at its top speed of 8 mph—-which is pretty exhilarating when you’re lying there just a few inches above the water. You steer with your feet, or by shifting your weight from side to side, as you would on a sled. The propeller is mounted well forward, where it is nearly impossible to reach, but it is surrounded by an aluminum shield as an added safety measure, A “dead man’s” throttle is used—-if you release your grip on it, the engine stops. If you should happen to fall off the boat, it won’t run away from you, and the propeller won’t be turning when you climb back aboard. Foamed-in-place flotation makes it possible for "Buzy Bee" to support 350 lbs., so even if it is swamped or damaged, it will still carry the weight of engine and operator. All in all, it is a safe and sturdy package that will withstand a lot of hard use. The engine is a small, 3½-hp Clinton Super 415 fitted with a heavier flywheel to make it easier to start. This motor has a vertical shaft, which is connected to the gear and propeller assembly from an old outboard motor. You can get a lower unit from an obsolete 3- to 5-hp outboard for next to nothing. A commercial unit called a Jaw Coupling makes this hook-up a cinch. The finished boat weighs just under 80 lbs., so it isn’t too difficult for one adult, or a couple of kids, to hoist it in and out of the family station wagon. Grab handles on the bow and stern add to the ease of handling.

16 pages, 3 plate(s)


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