All aboard the Firefly

October 2010 News

TIMBERLEA - At night, Dan Baker says his boat looks like a low-flying spaceship, silently skimming over Frasers Lake.

In the daylight, the unique vessel that Baker made himself is nearly indistinguishable from his floating dock.

A few months ago, the Timberlea resident decided he wanted to buy a pontoon boat.

"I wanted something I could take friend out on," Baker said. But when he found out how expensive those boats are, Baker said he decided to make one himself.

"My background is IT, but I'm a little bit handy around the house," Baker said.

He'd built a dock and a couple of decks so he felt pretty confident about that type of construction.

In fact, the boat looks like a floating dock and is buoyed by eight 55-gallon plastic barrels strapped underneath.

Bakers figures his boat cost about $2,500 to build and it's very cheap to operate.

It is powered by two trolling motors that he picked up at Canadian Tire. He uses a car charger to power the batteries.

So far, he figures that he's spent less than $1 powering the boat for about half of the summer.

The platform is great for fishing and swimming. Baker's attached a ladder so that swimmers can climb back on board.

He's named the boat the Firefly, because of how the Firefly's 900 LED lights glow at night.

It can carry six or seven passengers and moves almost silently.

At top speed, the Firefly can hit five km-h and at that pace, the only noise it makes is a gentle lapping of waves against the barrels, Baker said.

Baker figures the boat can go almost 10 kilometres on one charge, although the farthest he's gone in one trip was 4.8 kilometres - the distance from his place to the end of the lake and back.

The Bakers have been using the boat about twice a week.

He's working on making the vessel even more efficient. His latest project is putting together solar panels.


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