The story of the Seabob

A bit of history today. In this article you will discover how the Seabob we use today was invented. Bernd Boettger’s aquascooter.

On July 7, 1967, Bernd Boettger, a sports enthusiast and engineer by profession, tried to escape by swimming across the freezing Baltic Sea.
He was quickly spotted but despite this he was spared a tragic fate thanks to the precious nature of his profession within the German Democratic Republic.
But Bernd kept his desire for freedom deep within him and tried his luck again a year later, but this time there was no swimming.

It was then that he developed the very first water scooter. With his engineering skills and his determination, he designed and realized a way to be towed under the surface of the water, far from the coasts of East Germany. At the base of the system, a two-stroke gasoline engine recovered from a bicycle as well as a cylindrical container as an exhaust, also acting as a float. He had a wetsuit sent to him and made himself a snorkel. By clinging to a metal frame to which the installation was attached, it managed to be towed underwater at the speed of 2 knots (nearly 4 km/h)

He took to the sea in the direction of Sweden, at a very slow pace, making his way among the boats and searchlights which then populated the German coasts.

Swept away by the currents, Bernd ended his miraculous epic off the coast of Denmark where he was saved, after 25 km traveled clinging to his underwater machine.

Subsequently, Bernd Boettger’s aquatic scooter was the subject of a commercial adaptation like the Seabob and even of a military application.

The object that has become emblematic and essential in water toys even plays a decisive role in a film from the James Bond saga.

The price of freedom amounted that day to $50, the sum total of what the materials cost Bernd.

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