Engineer turns child’s sandbox into registered, operational boat

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND—At the turn of the millennium, Little Tikes produced a dual sandbox-splash pool shaped like a tugboat and a British man has now turned that creation into a registered, operational boat. The Drive, a website providing auto news and vehicle reviews, reported British railroad engineer Scott Bradley was inspired to turn a Little Tikes “Tuggy” into a seaworthy vessel after another project he had been working on to break a world record was put on pause due to the coronavirus.

Bradley told The Drive the project had been attempted before by others but without major success.

The Tuggy, a dual-purpose sandbox and splash pool for toddlers shaped like a tugboat, was produced for only a brief time. According to The Drive, some families confused the vessel for a real watercraft, resulting in a few dangerous situations. Little Tikes pulled Tuggy’s first iteration from store shelves and redesigned it to be unquestionably un-seaworthy before offering it again for a couple years, The Drive reported.

After tracking down one of the original Tuggys, Bradley designed and attached a new base made of foam and aluminum and a 12-volt Minn Kota trolling motor.

Before taking it out, Bradley followed all the legal requirements, according to The Drive, which included getting the vessel registered and finding a marine insurance specialist who would insure a children’s sandbox turned boat.

With all the proper insurance and boat registration paperwork in place, it was time to take the vessel out for a test run. Bradley took the boat out in a canal in the Castlefield Basin near Manchester, England. The whimsical ride was captured on video and shared on YouTube on Sept. 19. The Tuggy appeared to stay afloat with no issues and cruised along at a good clip. The video can be viewed at

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2 thoughts on “Engineer turns child’s sandbox into registered, operational boat

  • Doug flahaut

    What model is your motor? How much thrust does it produce? Thanks.

    • Doug flahaut

      Scott I’m building a tuggy tug boat for the grandchildren. How much thrust do you recommend? It would be very helpful! Thank you.



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