Aqua Sport Sea Skimmer

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The Aqua Sport Sea Skimmer was a leisure craft for personal use, made by Aqua Sport, Inc. from May 1959 through December 1962.

Sea Skimmer

The personal watercraft known as the "Sea Skimmer" was developed and produced by Aqua Sport, Inc of Lawrence, Kansas. Harry Hoch was the lead designer and a business partner for this corporation. Original product design, schedules, production, marketing, and financial investments records are the current custody of family descendants.

The patent holder was Dynamic Products, INC from Springfield, Missouri for the trademark AQUA-JET®. The trademark registration covered the category of personal use jet boats and structural parts thereof. AQUA-JET; Dynamic Products, Inc., Patent 1,658,664, INT. CL. 12.; US CL 19 [1]. The patent number is published in the 1975 U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Index of trademarks. [2][1] The NOLO Legal Encyclopedia webpage states that the USPTO assigns Class 12 for registering trademarks for vehicles that travel via land, water, or air .

The patent and trademark for Dynamic Products, Inc., Springfield, Mo., Reg. No. 1,658,664 were confirmed as cancelled in 1996.[2]


The New York Times published the original announcement for this Aqua Sport Sea Skimmer on Jan 15, 1961 calling it a "POWER SWIM UNIT, and "NEW Aqua Sport's Sea Skimmer Is Capable of 25 M.P.H". The article detailed the three models and their respective performance capabilities.[3][4]

  • DOLPHIN - 22 horsepower outboard / 25 MPH / gas operated / Snorkle exhaust
  • SKATE - 6 horsepower outboard / 12 MPH / gas operated / Snorkle exhaust
  • RAY an electric model with a 12 volt battery, attaining speeds of 12 to 15 MPH / KORT nozzle lower jet impeller

Units were 5 1/2 ft long and designed to be hand carried, fitting within the trunk of a car or the rear of a station wagon.

The Sea Skimmer was operated by laying down on the aft portion of the boat and dragging your feet in the water to steer, shifting body weight by moving legs from side to side and feet as the "rudders" to effect direction. Holding the handles maintained power to the engine, with the right handle operating the motor speed and the left handle functioning as a "Dead-Man Switch" abruptly stopping all power. Forward motion was halted by pressing downward with legs, bringing the integrated foam rubber covered aquaplaning board to a vertical position. (similar to the concept of Aquaplaning (sport))

The electric powered units had a rubber toggle on/off button which maintained a constant speed while engaged. They were powered by an electric "trolling" motor supplied by City Engineering Co. of Indianapolis. Powered by one 12 V auto battery which operated for about 2 1/2 hours without recharging.

The gasoline powered units used a Mercury motor, supplied by Mercury Marine from their Sarasota Florida facilities.

The hull was a molded colored fiberglass and was common to all three models. It was primarily produced in red, yellow, and aqua. It was fitted with an internal hull foam floatation system.

The Sea Skimmer could carry additional cargo (or an additional person) depending on weight/size.

The larger powered model had the ability to pull a water skier or provide a limited tow capability.

Move to Florida

Magazines and news outlets published numerous advertising articles. The Sea Skimmer was touted in multiple radio advertisements and displayed at boat shows and recreational events across the country. Aqua Sport's Sea Skimmer was first marketed for inland lake recreational sports. Aqua Sport, Inc. of Kansas City soon transferred operations to Boyton Beach Florida in Apr 11 1962 with opportunities to expand to ocean/coastal recreation activities. [5] [6] [7] [8]

Articles of incorporation are found in Florida for “AquaSkimmer Inc” on Feb 22, 1962 [9] John Tetyak was the new corporate officer and he claimed to be "the inventor of the concept". The new company marketed heavily on the Florida Coast with the intention of developing an hourly rental market for tourists as well as individual unit sales for use of the Sea Skimmer as a base for skin diving, pulling a water skier, ship to shore transportation in rescue work, a life saving unit for beaches, and a float for deep water swimming. The name "Sea Skimmer" then was changed to "Aqua Skimmer"

The Coast Guard classified the Sea Skimmer / Aqua Skimmer as "ocean going vessel". Compliance would require a complete re-design to accommodate additional safety requirements (running lights, oars, bailing bucket, and fire suppression system, etc), severely raising costs and limiting profitability. This re-design was not undertaken and the company did not survive. The corporation known as "Aqua Skimmer" was dissolved.

Government Interest

Per Aqua Sport original production and delivery company records - status as of April 16, 1961, there were 660 sold, 420 in production, and 375 delivered. The final totals for the number of units ultimately sold and delivered to all customers are unknown.

The company was approached by the US government. In early 1961 the Navy purchased five models for "testing and evaluation". Notes from Harry Hoch said some modifications included being painted black and adding machine gun mounts. For historical reference, The Cuban Missile Crisis and the Bay of Pigs Invasion occurred on 17 April 1961 by the United States Navy SEALs.

According to the The Palm Beach Post (Palm Beach, Florida) Thu, Sep 27, 1962 "The Navy has been using 5 models for Testing and Evaluation, He (John Tetyak company spokesman) declined to say how many boats the Navy wanted, but said it would be a sizeable order. Filling the governments order will require a large increase in the number of employees... The boats are being altered to meet specifications set up by the Navy" [10]

December 14, 1962, Aqua Skimmer, Inc announced an R&D contract with the Navy “for all the boats now being produced in conformity to Naval Specifications at the firm's local warehouse, to be delivered to an undisclosed area in the Caribbean for further evaluation by all branches of the armed services.” [11] [12]

It is unclear how many units this involved or what changes were incorporated for the new Naval Specifications. [FOIA in process for additional details]

It is likely these customized military units were used exploring the jungle waterways in Viet Nam. The electric model could run completely silent in the water. [FOIA in process for additional details]


  1. Index of Trademarks Issued from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The Office. 1992. p. 339. Retrieved August 3, 2021.
  2. Official Gazette of the United States Patent and Trademark Office: Trademarks. U.S. Department of Commerce, Patent and Trademark Office. 1996. p. 59. Retrieved August 3, 2021.
  3. "POWER SWIM UNIT NEW Aqua Sport's Sea Skimmer Is Capable of 25 M.P.H." The New York Times · Sun Jan 15, 1961 · Page 243
  4. Odom, Susan (August 7, 1962). "Scribe Gets a Look at Miami Beach". The Orlando Sentinel. ORLANDO, FLORIDA. Archived from the original on 2021-07-21. Retrieved 2021-07-21.
  5. "Sea-Skimmer Built In Boynton". The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, Florida). 1962-01-28. Retrieved 2021-08-03.
  6. "Kansas City Concern to Open Boynton Plant". Fort Lauderdale News (Fort Lauderdale, Florida). 1962-04-23. Retrieved 2021-08-03.
  7. Allen Duncan (1962-07-31). "Ever Go Speeding Flat On Stomach by Allen Duncan". The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, Florida). Retrieved 2021-08-03.
  8. "New Boat Introduced Here!". Fort Lauderdale News (Fort Lauderdale, Florida). 1962-11-04. Retrieved 2021-08-03.
  9. Aqua Skimmer Inc., 325 North Federal Hwy, Boynton beach, Florida 22 Feb 1962 to 7 June 1966, John Tetyak President, W.T. Black General Manager; Florida Dept of State, Division of Corporations
  10. "Aqua Skimmer Eyes Navy Job". The Palm Beach Post (Palm Beach, Florida). 1962-09-27. Retrieved 2021-08-03.
  11. "Aqua Skimmer Gets Pact". The Palm Beach Post (Palm Beach, Florida). 1962-10-12. Retrieved 2021-08-03.
  12. "Navy Contracts Aqua Skimmer for Development". Pensacola News Journal (Pensacola, Florida). 1962-12-14. Retrieved 2021-08-03.

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