BRADENTON –Bottles are not the typical material Manatee Technical Institute students encounter in their marine service technology class, but that is what three students from the class have used to build a craft for competition in this Saturday’s Bottle Boat Regatta . The race of “boats” made from discarded plastic bottles is a MTI favorite at the annual De Soto Heritage Festival.
Simon Price, Kyle Ingram and Ryan Boessman designed and built MTI’s entry.
Price said, “We’re the marine class! We better get a boat in the race!”
The 18 to 20 year olds used around 250 2-liter Mountain Dew bottles and 10 rolls of packing tape to construct their craft.
The craft took the students about six hours to build and weighs about 60 pounds. They had to figure out how many bottles they would need to float a three-man team. Students from other programs helped them collect the bottles.
The boat builders tested it in the water last weekend. It is sturdy enough for them to stand on like a paddleboard, but they will be kneeling on it during the race.
“Keep your head low and go!” is Ingram’s advice to his team. Ingram and two other classmates, Garrett Campbell and Austin King, plan to paddle the boat to victory.
The event will take place from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. on the south end of the Palma Sola Causeway. Admission is free.