How to Make Pedal Boat Faster

If you are wondering how to make pedal boat faster, then we are in the same boat. My first pedal boat glides over water at a speed of a few mph, which seems pretty slow. But as it’s my passion, I can’t resist the urge to keep going.

I love the idea of hitting extreme speeds on the calm water of a lake. For that reason, Sam and I do some research to make a pedal craft go faster. Although it was a bit of a tricky task, we did it in a short time.

For instance, Sam suggested the idea of installing a trolling motor in pedal boat, and the results were amazing. Plus, I reach the destination in less time whenever I pedal hard and in the direction of the wind.

Most importantly, understanding the speed limitations (such as increased load, filthy hull, and paddles) and doing modifications in a pedal boat can help you go faster in a pedal boat, the same as I did. Here’s everything that I learned from our personal experience about how to make pedal boat faster:

How to Make Pedal Boat Faster – Explained With Steps

Even though pedal boats are too slow, you don’t need a professional person to make your little vessel go faster. Instead, with a few tips and modifications, you can quickly increase the speed of your pedalo and trim off your time on the water. Here are the major ones:

Clean the Bottom – This Should be Your First Step

The water left on the boat can build up algae, stains, and junk on the bottom. It creates drag, tempting to resist the speed of your pedal craft.

Typically, a pressure washer is considered ideal for cleaning the bottom of a vessel. But if there is extra or sneaky junk, you can always chuck some cleaning solutions or boat wax to remove it.

Drain the Boat

As the pedal boat ages, it would cause a decline in its performance, especially speed. It is caused due to the saturated foam inside. The water left over in the boat can contribute to the overall weight of the pedal boat, leading to a slow speed. Plus, it can create mold or mildew on your boat’s surface, weakening its structure.

draining the water out of boat

Fortunately, you can prevent it for an extended time by ensuring proper drainage. Drainage is a necessary part of maintaining your pedal boat. To perform the preventative task, pull out the drain plug once you reach the shore.

Pedal With More Companions

Adding more pedaling companions is one of the best and most effective ways to make your pedalo go faster than too without spending any bucks. 

Obviously, having more companions means, It will give your boat more power to propel forward. As a result, you can cover long distances in a fraction of the time. Apart from the speed, pedaling with your loved ones can be fun.

Reduce the Load of Boat

It’s an obvious thing that weight can have a significant impact on your pedal boat’s speed. Hence, you should always keep your boat as light as possible. And don’t forget that how much weight pedal boat can hold.

If there’s any unnecessary gear or accessory lying on your watercraft, throw it out. For instance, you may want to remove the fishing rod, coolers, or any extra item that leads to unnecessary weight.

Remember, the less weight your boat has, the less effort you need to put into pedaling.

Install a Trolling Motor (Ultimate Method)

Hitting the gym hard and growing wood-like muscular legs to make your pedal boat faster, sounds a bit hectic task. Isn’t it? Instead, you can add extra help, which is a trolling motor.

trolling motor on boat

You can mount a trolling motor for pedal boat to speed up things effectively. Not only does it possess high speeds, but it is also a great way to give your legs a break and relax in the bed of nature. 

And the best part is, installing a trolling motor is extremely easy, even though I managed to mount it perfectly without watching any youtube videos.

In fact, installing trolling motors is a cost-effective solution too, for slow-speed pedal boats. With this method, you will be able to cruise across the water at high speeds without the need for constant pedaling. I have even tried this approach. Through my own experience, I can say with certainty that it was the superior option I have ever tried.

But apart from doing different exercises, and installing any motor, you should also maintain a pedal boat in its best shape. You should frequently access the entire body of the pedalo and check for any damage, leak, or mechanical fault.

Pedal Into the Direction of Wind

I always notice the speed of my watercraft drastically increases whenever it’s moving in the direction of the wind. It’s a logical fact that wind direction can either support you to go faster or resist your speed.

how to make pedal boat faster

If you are lucky enough to have the wind flowing around the direction in which your pedalo is moving, it would be a boost in speed. However, if it’s vice versa, don’t expect to go faster than 3 to 5 mph, even if you pedal hard.

Which Exercises Should I Focus on to Improve My Pedal Boating Speed?

Apart from tips and modifications, your personal pedaling power is something that can make a big difference in how fast is a pedal boat. As a boating enthusiast, you would surely know the direct relation between your pedaling power and the pedal boat’s top speed.

My muscles aren’t too efficient to operate pedalo at high speeds and for a long time. But for Sam (my muscular partner), it’s simply a piece of cake. He told me some exercises essential to improve one’s pedal boating speed.


If you never did workouts, lunges can be ideal for you. While it’s quite simple to do, it will benefit your whole lower body. For instance, it can strengthen your hamstrings, hips, glutes, quads, and calves. These muscles have an essential role in propelling pedals.


Moreover, lunges can help increase core strength and knee muscle tissue, which is essential to efficiently rotating pedals. After routinely performing lunges, you will notice a drastic change in your pedal boating speed in a month or two.

Kettlebell Swings

Kettlebell Swings

These swings can effectively build your pedal strokes and work out your whole body at the same time. While it’s a bit tricky exercise, you can perform it quickly with a little regular practice.

If you want to spend longer on lakes while possessing fast speeds, kettlebell swings can help you. Once you get a full grip on this exercise, there will be a slight but notable difference in your overall endurance.

Box Jumps

Jumps can’t fulfill the demand to strengthen your leg muscles fully. However, they are considered ideal for possessing bursts of speed, as they work out the muscles you need to pedal faster.

There’s no doubt in the fact that box jumps are a little challenging to do. And wrong squats can cause extreme pain and stiffness in muscles and lead to a knee fracture as well. That’s why it’s vital to consult a fitness expert or follow steps from a guide or YouTube video.

Does Fast Pedal Boats Safe For Kids?

I take my pedal boat for a ride daily on a lazy afternoon. Sometimes, my neighbor’s kids also join me in this fun venture. While enjoying the windy nature on calm waters, we never felt any danger, even when the motor was on, and my legs worked hard to pedal.

In fact, these kids love fast pedal boating. Every weekend, we fish from a pedal boat, explore the rivers, and enjoy the speedy rides. However, I am very concerned about the safety of these little ones, and that’s why I told them to be smart and make cautious moves in dangerous situations.

Compared to other water sports, fast pedal boating is safe for kids. Of course, kids should always wear life jackets (adults also) and pedal across the water under the supervision of an adult.

Safety Measures to Consider Before Riding a Pedal Boat Faster

Considering the safety measures is vital to stay safe while pedaling on water. Here are some tips which Sam and I always follow before jumping off on the pedalo:

Wear a Life Jacket

Accidents can happen at any instance, no matter whether you are riding your watercraft fast or slow. Therefore, wearing a properly fitted life jacket while pedaling is vital.

Life jackets can be the only difference between surviving and sinking to water depths. I also have a life jacket (named jack on its backside), and I never miss wearing it out for water activities.

If you know how to swim, don’t be too stupid to skive off this safety measure. You may not be able to swim properly and for a long time under such panic situations. However, a life jacket can save you, as it will keep you lying on the water’s surface for an extended period of time.

Go Fast in Calm Waters

Pedal crafts are very stable on calm waters. Even if you increase the speed a bit, you will experience a safe ride. However, you can’t do the same thing in wavy ocean water or rivers with too swift currents.

If your boats get unstable on water and start taking water from one side, it would result in a flip-over situation (I wish that it never happens).

Always Check the Weather

You can’t predict nature. Hence, it’s a good idea to check the weather before taking your little vessel out for a ride.

Wind, waves, thunderstorms, and visibility can all affect your safety on the water. Ensure to stay prepared for unexpected changes in weather conditions and have the plan to ensure your ride is safe and enjoyable.

Frequently Asked Questions – (FAQs)

What does it mean by steering a boat?

Steering a boat means moving the boat in different directions. You can do so with the help of a rudder available on your pedal boat. For instance, if you want to move your pedal boat toward the west, rotate the rudder in a specific direction.

Is it possible to make a pedal boat go faster without installing a trolling motor?

Yes, in fact, there are several methods to make a pedal boat go faster without installing a trolling motor. These include improving your pedaling speed, taking more companions to pedal, reducing the boat load, etc.

Can You Use Oars With a Pedal Boat to Go Faster?

While oars may help to navigate a pedal boat, they are unlikely to make it go faster. Pedal boats require riders to pedal, powering the propeller. You can use oars to steer the boat or provide additional propulsion in an emergency, but they are not an efficient way to increase the speed of a pedal boat. 

Wrapping Up – How to Make Pedal Boat Faster

I have provided clear insights into the query: how to make a pedal boat faster. While pedal boats are slow on average, you can always speed them up with our outlined tips and modifications.

Fast boating is extremely fun, but ensuring proper safety for you and your loved ones, especially kids, is essential. You can enjoy a safe and quick riding experience by considering a few safety measures.


  1. Will putting cupped paddle “blades” on my paddle wheel help it go faster ad smoother? Maybe “wings” on the blades? I made some but haven’t tried them yet.

    1. Absolutely! Cupped paddle blades increase propulsion. Wings reduce drag. One of my friends has put cupped paddle blades and it really worked.

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