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SALT LAKE CITY — After years of searching for a boat that could be used in a variety of recreational settings, a Salt Lake City man decided to create his own and has since raised more than $134,000 on his Kickstarter campaign.
Ben Scribner said he grew up fishing, and while working as a realtor, he still used his every spare moment to go fishing.
"I was fishing 80-100 days a year," he said. "I was really getting after it. It was my passion and that is just what I loved to do. It was an all-the-time obsession."
However, Scribner said he got frustrated at the lack of fishing boat options and he wanted a boat that would give him more access to small rivers and streams.
"It was haunting me to get to these spots where my bigger drift boat couldn't go," he said. "I just kept dreaming about the ultimate boat that I could take over a guardrail, go down the hill and launch wherever, and really take out and put in wherever I wanted to versus where a boat ramp was."
After struggling to find what he wanted, Scribner got the idea to build his own boat in 2008. He began working on concepts and prototypes over the next several years, and in 2013, he launched the "Flycraft."
The Flycraft is made from a durable PVC interwoven nylon and measures 12.5 feet long and almost 4 feet wide. The frame can be taken apart into seven pieces and compacts down to a size of about 30 inches by 40 inches by 23 inches. The base weight of the boat is about 98 pounds, and when taken apart, can fit into two backpacks so it can be carried into any hard-to-reach location, Scribner said.
The Flycraft seats two people and the design allows it to float on as little as 3 inches of water, giving it access to shallow streams. It was designed with a wide variety of recreational activities in mind so while it can be used as a float tube for fishing, it also has the maneuverability of a kayak or canoe.
"The versatility and multi-function really set it apart," Scribner said. "It's really like having eight, nine, 10 boats in one package. … It packs down to fit into the trunk of a small compact car, which is a huge advantage. It's light enough that you could backpack it. We claim that it's the most versatile boat in the world."
The majority of the Flycraft is manufactured in Utah and other parts of the U.S., and it is entirely assembled in Utah, Scribner said. The boat can be customized with extra features including a gear rack, cup holders, rod holders, anchors, a motor and other fishing gadgets. The base price starts at $3,000, but a $835 discount is offered on the Kickstarter campaign.
Scribner said he believes the multi-functionality of the boat makes it a perfect fit for any recreationalist.
"It's perfect for beginners because it's really easy to teach someone to row out of this boat," he said. "It's perfect for the most professional hardcore anglers and really anyone in between. Also couples. It's just an amazing couples boat because they can go out and have an adventure and it's so easy because it's so much smaller to manage."
The Flycraft is currently only sold online and Scribner said he launched the Kickstarter to raise money to begin selling the boat internationally.