This Engineer Turned a Little Tikes Tuggy Sandbox Into a Real, Legally-Registered Boat

Original ideas, the knowhow to realize them, and then the moxie to do so is a potent hand few people have the fortune of being dealt-and British railroad engineer Scott Bradley is one of them. When The Drive last checked in on Bradley, he was preparing a kerosene-burning jet turbine train called the Speedbird to tackle a Guinness World Record. But with dreams of speed postponed by 2020’s pandemic, Bradley refocused his creative energies on a smaller form: Converting Little Tikes “Tuggy” sandboxes into real, seaworthy boats.
Produced briefly around the turn of the millennium, the Tuggy was a dual-purpose sandbox and splash pool for toddlers shaped like a tugboat with a Cozy Coupe aesthetic. Because some families confused the vessel for a real watercraft, evidently getting a few kids in dangerous situations, Little Tikes pulled Tuggy’s first iteration from store shelves and redesigned it to be unquestionably sea-unworthy before offering it again for a couple years.
But in doing so, though, Bradley says Little Tikes inadvertently made Tuggy even easier to turn into a boat, paving the way for his whimsical nautical adventure.
General Motors works with online advertising companies to provide advertising that is as relevant and useful as possible based on your browsing activity.
GM is committed to providing you with transparency and control over the types of advertising you see from us; please access the links below for more information.
“So, the sandbox I needed was only sold for around two years, 20 years ago-and all of them by this time had been scorched to a crisp with UV damage from two decades of sun, and children climbing over them. Of course, almost all of them had ended up in landfills by this point,” Bradley explained to The Drive. “I had been searching for just one ‘Tuggy’ for almost 10 years-and had now reached the point that I had commissioned a USA-based shipping company to import one that I’d found on a Minnesotan Craigslist advert on my behalf into the U.K. It was going to cost nearly $1,000!”
But then, a sudden change of fortune: One of Little Tikes’ redesigned, conversion-friendly Tuggys surfaced for sale on eBay in the United Kingdom. Bradley threw a max £500 bid its way, only to win the soon-to-be watercraft for a mere £6, demand being evidently lower than expected. He then personally drove 400 miles to collect his unicorn and commence its transformation into a real boat.
Before he could, though, he struck gold again. Three times.
General Motors works with online advertising companies to provide advertising that is as relevant and useful as possible based on your browsing activity.
GM is committed to providing you with transparency and control over the types of advertising you see from us; please access the links below for more information.
“During the lockdown, people were clearly having some sort of clear-out of their garages and gardens, because within the space of six weeks, another three [Tuggys] appeared on eBay, and I just couldn’t help myself,” Bradley recalled. “I drove around the entire country, thousands of miles, buying every last single one of them, and entering into bidding wars with local families, and leaving innocent sellers entirely confused as to why some maniac would travel 300 miles for an old plastic kids sandpit.”
With the Tuggy Armada in his possession, Bradley began researching whether others had tried the same project. There were a few attempts, but none done especially well, most involving expanding foam to make it float for a few minutes at most. Bradley wanted a boat, not a gimmick. Being an engineer, he worked out a simple (by his profession’s standards) solution: 3D-scanning the Tuggy’s hull, and having a new floor laser-cut from 6061 T6 aluminum.
Learn More
General Motors works with online advertising companies to provide advertising that is as relevant and useful as possible based on your browsing activity.
GM is committed to providing you with transparency and control over the types of advertising you see from us; please access the links below for more information.
Learn More
General Motors works with online advertising companies…
diagnostic code reader

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.