Marine

Electric-capable boat folds flat for transit and storage

Electric-capable boat folds fl...
The AquaNaut 270 is currently on Kickstarter
The AquaNaut 270 is currently on Kickstarter
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The AquaNaut 270 is currently on Kickstarter
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The AquaNaut 270 is currently on Kickstarter
The components of the AquaNaut 270 kit
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The components of the AquaNaut 270 kit
The AquaNaut 270's hulls can be carried on top of a car when folded flat
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The AquaNaut 270's hulls can be carried on top of a car when folded flat
The AquaNaut 270's center bench seat can also be used as a sunbathing platform
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The AquaNaut 270's center bench seat can also be used as a sunbathing platform
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We've seen various fold-flat kayaks and canoes, but motorized watercraft? Not so much. That may be about to change, though, if the AquaNaut 270 reaches production.

Designed by Texas-based engineer Roland Heersink, the AquaNaut takes the form of two deep-canoe-like hulls that are joined together side-by-side via two aluminum crossbeams.

Platforms attached to those beams seat two passengers within each hull, plus a platform in the space between the hulls serves as a storage space, or as a bench seat for a solo passenger. A user-supplied electric motor gets mounted on the rear beam.

The hulls are made from pre-folded 4-mm UHPDE (ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene), and they fold flat – down to 3 inches (76 mm) thick – once the supporting crossbars are removed. Each one of them reportedly weighs 36 lb (16 kg), and together they can handle a payload of up to 650 lb (295 kg) – four average-weight adults, in other words.

The AquaNaut 270's hulls can be carried on top of a car when folded flat
The AquaNaut 270's hulls can be carried on top of a car when folded flat

According to Heersink, the whole AquaNaut can be put together or folded down within 10 minutes without any tools. In its "deployed" state, it measures 8 feet 10 inches (2.7 m) in length and 7 ft (2.1 m) across. Its top speed, needless to say, is determined by the size of motor used.

Some thought does need to be put into figuring out who sits where, in order to keep the twin-hulled AquaNaut balanced. Roland tells us that he hasn't run into any insurmountable problems, though, particularly with the availability of the center bench seat.

Should you be interested, the AquaNaut 270 is presently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. A pledge of US$2,799 will get you one, if everything works out. The planned retail price is $3,999.

You can see it in use, in the following video.

Sources: Kickstarter, AquaNaut

AquaNaut|twin-hull folding boat

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1 comment
Aross
Interesting concept but as someone who has had experience in combining regular canoes into catamarans for transportation I see several problems with this. The two fold-able units are too short. I would go with a minimum of 10 ft., 12 ft if using a motor. The separation between the units should also be increased to at least 6ft. between the keels. Anything less would make this somewhat unstable in rougher water. Its current configuration would make placing the battery for the motor a problem as well.