A Group Of Guys Are Sailing 500 Miles On A Boat They Built From Plastic Bottles

In the Czech town of Nymburk, two young men grew tired of the relentless pollution in Europe and across the world. Marine litter especially, like floating garbage, plague our oceans and seas.

So the duo decided to tackle the problem using the same materials causing it — they built a boat out of plastic bottles.

Jan Kara, 22, a student, and mechanic Jakub Bures, 21,
ran their project out of a shed in their yard.

Below, Bures and Kara attach the bottles to each other, first filling them with dry ice for added buoyancy and then sealing them, BBC News reported.


REUTERS/David W Cerny

All in all, 50000 plastic bottles would comprise their dreamed-up craft. Below, Bures’ hand sticks out of the supply.

After that, they needed a structure to support the bottles on water — a sturdy wooden frame.

Below, Bures (left) and another friend involved, Jan Holan (right), attach a rudder to a steel propeller at the back.

For control, repurposed bike parts take care of pedaling and steering. A long axle connects these to the steel propeller and rudder in the back.

They plan to sail down the river Elbe from their town of Nymburk to Hamburg, Germany as a way to draw attention to the growing threat of plastic pollution in Europe.

Plastic bottle boat

REUTERS/David W Cerny

Here, Bures, Kara, Holan (from left to right) secure plastic garden chairs to the wooden frame behind the pedals.

Finally, they put the bottles in position.

On July 12, 2014, the four friends needed to pedal, including Jan Brand, officially set sail on the Petburg. Naturally, the launch drew a crowd.

“There are lots of people who support us,” Kara told BBC. “But there are also lots of people who are convinced we’re going to sink after 10 metres. So it’d be worth it just to prove it to them.”

Plastic bottle boat

REUTERS/Rene Volfik

Here’s a view from the top. The back of the boat even includes a small cabin for shelter or short breaks.

Complete with portholes.

Below, Kara drinks bottled water in the cabin of a boat made of plastic bottles, floating on water. Pretty meta.

The journey would last about 850 kilometers, or 530 miles, according to Radio Prague. Here, the foursome waits in a lock chamber on the Elbe.

Their rudimentary steering system functioned swimmingly.

The young adventurers expect the journey to last a month — maybe two, they told Deutsche Welle.

Here’s the Petburg’s approximate path, starting near Prague and ending in Hamburg.

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