Daily news blog for Seattle's Wallingford neighborhood

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Hot Tub Boats hit it big on Seattle waters

Posted by Kate Bergman on July 3rd, 2012

By Almeera Anwar

It’s been called one of the most luxurious things imaginable and many who have tried it would agree. It’s a hot tub inside of a boat, and we can thank two local Seattleites for coining the idea.

Photo courtesy Kelly Norton & Adam Karpenske

Adam Karpenske and Kelly Norton joke that their business was born out of necessity and for an escape from wet Seattle winters. Karpenske fathered the idea for Hot Tub Boats when he wanted to put a hot tub on his boat, but did not have enough room to install it, so he approached Norton and the company blossomed from there.

Norton, co-founder of the company, said that everything happened incredibly quickly from there. They started building their first boat in November, which is already available for rental, and there are many more boats on the way. The company is located on the water just off of Westlake Ave North in Wallingford.

For a company that is operating as a very young start-up, they’re getting a lot of attention. They’ve been featured on CNN and Headline News, with much more coverage to come.

“It’s a little overwhelming and hard to grasp,” said Norton, “We’re so busy that we are just focused on the project and it’s hard to see how much attention we’re actually getting.” Just this past week, they offered a boat up for auction to be used on Lake Union for the 4th of July. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Center for Wooden Boats.

“It was such a new thing, this was really about testing it out,” said Norton. “We had no idea what the interest would be or what people would be willing to pay.” The boat ended up going for just over the hourly rental rate. Rentals start at $139 for two hour trips on weekdays, Monday to Thursday, and go down based on the amount of time that the boat is rented; for example, it’s $119 for 4 hours. Weekends, Friday and Saturday, is the same system but $20 more per session. Overnight rentals are also available for people who have a place to tie the boat up. The boat can accommodate six people while underway and eight when docked.

Their patent is pending, but this company is moving forward at full force. Right now they are aiming to get a strong rental fleet onto Lake Union and then expand rentals to other parts of the country. They also would like to try selling the boats abroad and have even launched an online store that sells Hot Tub Boat memorabilia.

Norton adds that even though everything is happening quickly, they are loving the journey and enthusiasm behind their idea.



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  • Cswitwer

    Much as I'd like to, I don't think we can claim Hot Tub Boats as a Wallingford business:  https://maps.google.com/maps?q...

  • FreGirl

    ROFL. This is SO NOT Wallingford! Did they pay you to put this on the blog and label it under the wrong neighborhood???

  • http://hottubonline.co.uk/ christine

    A hot tub inside a boat is very scenic. Plus the view of the sunset will truly relax you.

  • Lisa

    Their regulations state no alcohol or drugs – but one of the photos on the site clearly shows a bottle of something sparkling! Let's hope its sparkling apple juice!!