Did you ever wonder how fast can pedal boat go? Well, I have been enjoying pedal boating for a couple of years, and I’m still surprised at their turtle-like speed. Maybe it’s due to my inefficient leg power, but when Sam (my muscular partner) is on the water, there’s nothing but a little difference in speed.
Although this watercraft lacks in performance a bit, there is no match for it in terms of durability. Plus, it’s too fun to pedal and explore the rivers that I can’t tempt to stop.
In general, pedal boats can travel at a speed of 4 to 6 mph. The range is valid as long as you ride an average pedal boat on the water. If you take a watercraft particularly designed for racing purposes, the speed can reach up to 20 mph.
Let’s explore more about how fast can a pedal boat go.
How Fast Can Pedal Boat Go Answered
Usually, a pedal boat isn’t very fast. Recreational boaters like me use this watercraft to enjoy the peace of nature, not for racing.
The average pedalo can reach the speed of 6 mph (9.6 kph), and that’s the maximum. However, it all depends on the power of your leg muscles and several other factors. Some are controllable, while others are out of the boater’s hands.
Of course, it’s a bit challenging to pedal your boat faster, but it doesn’t mean a pedal boat can’t be fun to operate. In fact, it’s a great way to enjoy nature and exercise.
Why Are Pedal Boats So Slow?
Something that constantly roams around a pedal boat is a voice, and that’s ‘slow.’ Mostly, pedal boats can travel at a speed of a few mph, which seems pretty slow. But there are some reasons why are pedal boats so slow. Here are the major ones:
Propelled by Human Power
A pedal boat contains a bicycle-like mechanism. You have to use your leg in order to move the little vessel. It requires you to power it by pedaling, which may seem effortless at first but quickly becomes an aerobic workout. Over time, maintaining the same speed can be challenging as fatigue sets in, causing the legs to burn with each rotation.
On the other hand, motorized boats can travel faster than these leisure watercraft, reaching up to 30 mph or more.
Don’t Contain Hydrodynamic Features
Pedal boats don’t contain hydrodynamic features, meaning they can’t glide across the water quickly. For instance, the shape of these vessels creates drag, which leads to a slowdown in speed.
While it’s a fact that pedal boats are open-topped, the design has nothing to do with their speed. The style is just a part of the boat’s appearance.
Pedalos often contain many moving parts, such as pedals, paddlewheels, and rudder. These components generate drag and resistance, leading to a decrease in speed. For instance, if you put more effort into pedaling and the paddlewheel isn’t rotating fast, your boat will only travel a little quicker.
5 Factors That Determine How Fast Can Pedal Boat Go
If you are like me, you would surely know that pedal boat speed heavily depends on how hard you pedal it. But that is not all! There are several other factors as well that determines the speed of this watercraft. Here are a few of them:
Weight of the Pedal Boat
Generally speaking, pedal boats are considered safe due to a literal ton of weight and a super low position on calm water. The average pedal boat weighs around 120 lbs, and that’s double in comparison to a two-seater kayak.
This weighty watercraft produces drag, and what drag does is mentioned earlier. You can lose your vessel’s weight by leaving your kids on the shore and removing extra gear. It will have a small but noticeable difference in speed.
The shape of the Pedal Boat
If you see pedal boats with a falcon’s eye, you will notice a common thing: an arrow-like shape, which limits the front contact with water. It makes them like a brick gliding across the water.
Whoever designed this boat, the style of manufacturing seems to resist speed at all. The watercraft has a maximum surface area, and its arrow-like shape acts as a friction source for your pedal effort.
Direction of Wind
Wind direction can affect the boat’s speed. Depending on the direction, it can either support or resist your pedalo. If you pedal towards the west and the wind flows in the same direction, your boat will likely go faster.
However, if you’re not lucky enough to pedal into the wind, it would be harder to overcome its resistance.
Size of the Pedal Boat
Besides weight and shape, size is something that excludes a pedal craft from racing events. A pedalo that provides speed should have a single seat, whereas the regular boat or one which is available on the market fits 2, 4, or even 6 people.
Number of People Pedaling
It’s a fact that doing anything alone takes plenty of time, whereas a bunch of people can do the same task easily and quickly. The same rule applies to pedal boats.
For instance, if you are traveling alone, it would take more time to travel from point A to point B. But if a couple of buddies pedal it, the boat will cover the same distance in a fraction of the time.
Pedal Boat Vs. Paddle Boats: The Speed Comparison
When it comes to pedal and paddle boats, the first thing that comes to mind is a leisurely cruise on a calm lake or a gentle river. While both types of boats offer a relaxing way to enjoy the water, there are some differences in their speed capabilities.
The speed of a pedal boat can vary depending on your pedaling skills and the water conditions. But when you hit your stride and get into a steady rhythm, you can reach up to 4 to 6 miles per hour, which is pretty impressive, considering you’re just using your leg power.
These little vessels are perfect for leisurely rides around lakes or rivers, providing a low-impact workout while enjoying the scenery.
On the flip side, paddle boats require the person sitting there to operate paddles. These watercraft solely rely on human power and can reach speeds ranging from 6 to 8 miles per hour.
So, in terms of speed, the pedal boat has the edge over the paddle boat. However, it’s vital to consider that both types of vessels are designed for leisurely cruising. The focus is on enjoying nature and taking in peaceful surroundings rather than breaking speed records.
However, you can install a trolling motor on pedal boat as well as on paddle boats which can give you an upper hand over your friends, pedaling on other boats. Also, the trolling motor can also be much more helpful if you’re fishing from a pedal boat.
List of Fastest Pedal Boat
Pedal boats are popular recreational watercraft, typically used for leisurely cruising and exploration of the waterways. While they are not usually associated with high speeds, there are a number of models that can achieve impressive velocities. Here are a few of them:
- Hydrofoil Racing Pedal Boats: It is a pedal-powered hydrofoil boat that boasts speeds of up to 20 mph. The unique design allows it to glide effortlessly over the water, propelled by the rider’s pedaling motion.
- Schiller Water Bike: It is a hydrofoil pedal boat that can propel riders at up to 10 miles per hour across the water’s surface.
- Pelican Monaco DLX: With the model, riders can pedal through the water and reach speeds of up to 5 mph in comfort and style.
- The Sun Dolphin Sun Slider: This pedal boat provides a leisurely way to explore the water, potentially reaching speeds of up to 5 miles per hour on calm water bodies.
How Pedal Boat Varies Speed on Different Water Bodies?
Pedal boats are a fun way to explore various water bodies, including lakes, rivers, and ponds. However, the way a pedal boat varies in speed on different water bodies can be quite different, depending on various factors.
For instance, if you are pedaling a boat on a calm lake, you can easily achieve a decent speed with just a few strokes of the pedal. The water is relatively still, and there is little resistance to your pedaling, so you can move quickly and smoothly.
However, if you take that same pedal boat onto a fast-moving river, the story changes. The current can be strong and swift, and you may need to pedal much harder to make any progress. You’ll also need to be careful not to get carried away by the current and lose control of your boat.
In contrast, on a choppy and windy day on a large body of water like an ocean or a sea, pedal boats can become quite challenging to navigate. The waves can be high and cause the boat to bounce up and down, making pedaling more difficult. In this situation, the boat’s speed will likely be slower as the pedaling requires more effort to fight against the waves and wind.
In the end, the way a pedal boat varies in speed on different water bodies depends on a variety of factors, including the water’s depth, current, and obstacles. But no matter where you take your pedal boat, it’s sure to be a fun and rewarding experience.
Frequently Asked Questions – (FAQs)
Can I make my pedal boat go faster?
While you can’t expect to win races with your pedal boat, there are some tips and tricks to make your pedal boat go faster. For instance, you can install a pedal boat trolling motor to speed up your boat to 30 mph.
How do you control a fast pedal boat?
Controlling the speed of a pedal boat involves reducing pressure on the pedals to decrease the speed. It is also essential to prioritize safety by wearing a life jacket while engaging in water activities.
Are pedal-powered boats faster than sculls?
It depends on the strength and skill of the rower and peddler. Pedal-powered boats can be faster than skulls if the person operating the pedalo has strong leg muscles and a good sense of rhythm. Ultimately, it’s not about the vessel but the person using it that makes the difference in speed.
How fast does the Sun Dolphin pedal boat go?
Various factors influence the Sun Dolphin pedal boat’s speed. These include wind and water conditions, weight distribution, and the person’s effort to pedal. On average, a Sun Dolphin pedalo can travel around 4 to 6 mph (6.4 to 9.6 kph).
So here you have it,’ how fast can a pedal boat go’. To conclude, if speed is a necessity, don’t opt for a pedalo. Multiple other high-speed watercraft are available in the market. For instance, a kayak or canoe is a better option to carry more gear and travel faster.
While speed is something that a pedal boat doesn’t possess effectively, the fact doesn’t degrade the vessel’s value. Instead of complaining, you can enjoy the outdoors and have some low-impact workouts.
If you’re looking to accelerate your pedal boat’s pace, there are a few techniques to consider. These tips and modifications can help you make the most of your time on the water and enjoy a delightful pedal boating experience.
Jack Bennett, a passionate pedal boating enthusiast, and marine engineer by day, is here to share my knowledge and love for this exciting sport with you all. Happy Boating!