The Equipment



From the 9 foot long J&A class hydroplanes to the 12’ C&D runabouts, boats are available new from a number of custom builders and used from fellow racers located around the country.

As tempting as it might be to pick up an old outdated hull, or design and build your own, you will be much better off buying a current design, new or used. If you must build it yourself, try a kit. They are available from some of the top builders in the country.

When you first start racing there is a lot to learn, a known proven hull will make it easier for the more experienced drivers to coach you; some of them have or still run the same make boat or at least a similar type.


Sidewinder engines can compete in various classes. Reconditioned engines are available for some specific classes. There is also a large quantity of good competitive used engines for sale at any given time. Your choice will probably be determined by budget and mechanical skills.


All the propellers that are used in the small runabout and hydro classes are custom made. New and used props are available from prop builders as well as your competitors. The interesting thing about props is that they work differently on different rigs; the used prop you bought from another driver could be ideal for your rig and propel you to a top spot at the nationals.

Safety Equipment

Drivers are required to wear a cut resistant driving suit (typically made from Kevlar), a racing life jacket and a helmet. This equipment is available new and used and must comply with the safety rules specified by the racing association.


A minimum of basic hand tools is all that’s necessary in the pits, but you will need some special setup tools to properly set the height and angle of your engine on the boat. These special tools are used infrequently once you find your ideal set up, and can often be borrowed from other racers in the pit area.


Transportation can be as simple as a set of racks on the roof of the family car for the boat and the engine in the trunk, or at the other extreme a multi-boat enclosed trailer towed by a fancy motor home. In the past several drivers have traveled to the races with the boat, motors and all their equipment in VW beetles.

Next Up: Getting Started