Dartmouth woman turns 1970s speedboat into a ‘beautiful’ backyard swimming pool


A woman from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia decided that water inside a boat shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

After about a month of work, Olivia Kendall says she’s finished transforming an old motorboat into a backyard swimming pool.

“He looked really nice. He was obviously really old,” Kendall said of the boat. “But I thought if it could keep the water out, it could probably hold the water in.”

Since buying her home in 2017, she said she has been working on renovating the property. She was originally looking for storage ponds – which use shallow galvanized steel tanks typically found on farms for livestock – for her home, as they have recently become a trendy pool alternative.

However, she was discouraged by the high cost of the tanks and came across a listing of an old Chestnut Canoe Company Mercury model “runabout” boat on Facebook Marketplace for $300.

Olivia Kendall turned an old Chestnut Canoe Company Mercury model runabout, seen top right in a catalog, into a swimming pool for her backyard. (Wooden Canoe Museum)

“On a whim I bought it and the gentleman took it straight to the garden and I started working on it.”

She started talking to people about the project to hold herself accountable, she said, and started setting up the pool. The first step was to choose a place for the boat to live in its garden. Then she leveled the ground below and built a frame to hold the boat steady.

Kendall said she returned to Facebook Marketplace, where she found used equipment including a pool pump, sand filter and saltwater chlorinator – which creates chlorine gas from dissolved salt in the water – to start transforming the cockpit of the boat. in a pool.

Complete with waterfall

“Taking the second-hand road allows you to meet interesting people who know [about] these items,” she explained, adding that the process was much easier with the help she received from the vendors she purchased equipment from.

Then it was to cover the deck of the boat with a pool liner, drill holes in the hull of the boat to run the pool hoses through, and add a waterfall attachment that returns water to the pool once that it passed through the filters.

Olivia Kendall is seen smiling as her daughter, Adele, sits in the cherry red pool boat.
Olivia Kendall said her daughter, Adele, has spent much of the summer in the pool since it was completed. (Dylan Jones/CBC News)

Finishing touches include a bin at the back of the pool, which she uses to store drinks for herself and her three-year-old daughter Adele, who added her personal touch to the ‘inverted boat’ with a variety of his toys.

“We just needed something small enough for her to splash around in safely. And I also needed something I could relax in,” Kendall said.

Her daughter spent all the time she could in the pool and the other kids in the neighborhood are also big fans of the project, she said.

Landscaping and lights

There are still things to add to the boat, Kendall said. She plans to landscape around the hull and add lights to bring in a tropical vibe. She called the pool a “prototype” and plans to teach herself how to build a permanent base for the boat once swimming season is over.

She got a quick lesson in everything from chemistry to construction, she said, adding that she recommends taking the boat route for people considering adding a pool to their home, especially on the second-hand market.

“It forced me to learn to do things on my own, to be resourceful and to trick my friends [into] come and lift stuff for me,” Kendall said with a laugh.


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