From bath tub to boat, it's one heck of a conversation starter

When Rex Havens purchased their Lake home a few years ago, everyone got a big kick out of the master bathroom. As if the red shower and matching vanity weren’t bad enough, a heart-shaped hot tub sat in the middle of the room surrounded by carpeting.

“We have young kids so we thought they would have fond memories of the Lake house with the heart-shaped tub…until Dad ripped it out” Rex’s son Adam said. It was removed in one piece and sat out in the driveway until they could figure out what to do with it. That’s when Adam and his brother Matt began concocting a scheme.

“Matt and I knew we needed to do something with it so we put a fake Craigslist ad out and told my dad that someone was coming to get it,” Adam said. They started to think of uses for the tub. A sandbox or a coy pond just wouldn’t do. So they decided to turn it into a boat.

They enlisted the help of Ben Boercker, owner of Boercker Auto & Marine, who came by to pick it up. Noone knew but he had been commissioned to do the near impossible — turn the bathtub into a boat.

Rex, a stand-up-comedian by trade, was no stranger to pranks in the family. To pull this one off would be no small feat. It would take two years and a lot of coordination to keep it a secret.

“As far as (Rex) knew, it was gone forever,” Adam said. “We were lucky enough to find Ben, and lucky that he thought our idea was funny enough to help us out. He has more important projects than ours so he worked on it when he could and we just had to be patient.”

Boercker said he was up for the challenge. While working on other projects he would think about what it was going to take to complete the project, working on it when he had time and occasionally asking others for advice along the way.

“With the basic shape of it, I knew it would float. I just didn’t know how well it would float,” Boercker said. After adding fiberglass to the bottom and sides and sealing up the jets, it was placed in the water for a trial run. It floated but as suspected, it wasn’t very stable.

Over the course of two years he would add more material, foam, and wrapped it in fiberglass to make it sturdy. A gel coat and designing a mounting system for the motor were the final touches. It was a process of trial and error, he said. The fixtures were left in so it still looked like a bathtub.

“Once we started getting some progress pictures from Ben we’d text them around, so near the end we started getting paranoid someone would slip up and say something,” Adam said. But they didn’t. The boat was delivered on Labor Day.

“(Rex) actually loves it and so does our stepmom. It took them a while to figure out what we did but my Dad definitely appreciates a good joke,” Adam said. “We used to get him pretty good every April Fools Day but he started preparing for it. So we’ve had to get more elaborate over time.”

They joke about offering champaign cruises or entering it into the Shootout next year, but the boat spends most of its time right next to their dock.

“It’s hard for anyone to look at it and not smile,” Adam said.