Susan Comer said she, her family and friends go tubing on Rome’s rivers almost every Sunday if the weather allows. It’s a fun way to spend the day, lazily drifting down Rome’s waterways. But when her son and his friends saw a Youtube video in which people built rafts out of recycled material, they decided it would be fun and creative to try the same thing.
“The video showed people using old box springs stuffed with soda bottles,” Susan said. “They used whatever materials they could find to build their rafts and they floated. So these guys figured they could do the same thing.”
So Comer’s son Josh — along with friends Ben McCrickard, Macy McCullough and Dillon Messer — began constructing their rafts. Comer’s and McCrickard’s rafts are at the Comer home on Morrison Campground Road.
The idea of using recycled, reclaimed and repurposed materials was a fun challenge for the group, and it meant they would spend as little money as possible on their project. They started collecting materials in January and the rafts are still in the early stages of construction but the friends have a plan for their designs.
Josh’s raft is a hollowed out box spring filled with Styrofoam and empty water bottles taped together with duct tape.
“Ben’s using laundry jugs, soda bottles, a box spring base and chicken wire,” Susan said. “And I think Macy is using small barrels and buckets.”
Susan said the group has used Facebook to let their friends know about the project and to collect recycled items. In fact, on Thursday, Ben’s truck was filled with Styrofoam, wire, and dozens of plastic bottles he taped together to form floats that hopefully will keep his raft buoyant.
Josh said they spend about an hour each day working on their rafts. As Ben taped together several plastic bottles inside Styrofoam shells, he said much of his building material was left over from construction projects or just items he found around the house.
Though the rafts are a couple weeks away from being sea…err… river-worthy, there’s one thing that’s complete — their names. Susan used pieces of Styrofoam to make plaques bearing the friends’ nicknames, “Boomer” and “Mutt,” which will be affixed to their rafts once complete.
“We were hoping to have them finished in May,” Susan said. “But it looks more like it’ll be early June before we get them in the water. We’re planning to have a big flotilla of rafts and tubes going down the river. The more the merrier.”