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Do Pumpkins Make Good Boats?

Surprisingly, pumpkins can be transformed into buoyant vessels! Thanks to their hollow structure and thick rind, they can float and even carry a person when properly hollowed out and sealed. This quirky use of pumpkins showcases their versatility beyond the kitchen. Have you ever imagined setting sail in a giant gourd? Join us to uncover the potential of pumpkins at sea.
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman

If Disney's Cinderella is to be believed, pumpkins make excellent carriages – as long as you have a Fairy Godmother (and don't stay out past midnight).

It turns out that pumpkins can also be used for transportation in real life – though not as carriages, but as boats. Last month, on the morning of August 27, a Nebraska man named Duane Hansen set off from the Bellevue Marina, sailing down the Missouri River in a hollowed-out 846-pound (384-kg) pumpkin.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

Hansen – who made the trip on the day after his 60th birthday – had to remain vigilant at all times to keep the pumpkin upright and avoid getting swamped. He navigated around rocks, shallow sand bars, the wakes of other boats, and other obstacles. With family members and city officials following along to document the journey and provide assistance if needed, Hansen paddled for around 38 miles (61 km). Nearly 12 hours after setting off, he disembarked in Nebraska City.

Bobbing around in the SS Berta:

  • Hansen is confident that his journey will earn him a coveted spot in Guinness World Records for "longest journey by pumpkin boat," though his application is still being processed.

  • If successful, he'll be ousting the former record holder, Rick Swenson, who sailed 25.5 miles (41.04 km) down the Red River in 2016.

  • Hansen's "boat," dubbed the S.S. Berta, has a circumference of 146 inches (370.8 cm). He spent over a decade (and thousands of dollars) trying to grow the perfect pumpkin to break the record. .

Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman is a teacher and blogger who frequently writes for WiseGEEK about topics related to personal finance, parenting, health, nutrition, and education. Learn more...
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman
Margaret Lipman is a teacher and blogger who frequently writes for WiseGEEK about topics related to personal finance, parenting, health, nutrition, and education. Learn more...

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