Browsing around for a sauna boat might seem a tedious task. Particularly, when you don’t exactly know what to look for. Below are our guidelines for narrowing the search down to some key aspects. We have extensive experience in talking to both people who have bought our sauna boats as well as to hundreds of potential clients that have been in your situation.

After reading this post, you will have a better understanding of how to approach the selection of sauna boats and what to ask from your boat manufacturer. You’ll gain a general idea of what size your sauna boat should be and what kind of extras you need from the start. 

Size of the Sauna Boat

Think about this from a simple angle: who would you most probably be sharing this experience with? How many people would be on the sauna boat, and particularly in the sauna room, at any time? 

We offer sauna boats for families and small groups of friends, as well as for larger groups of people - boats that can have up to 12 people in the sauna room at the same time.

If you are getting one for you and friends and family, think about whether you would be comfortable in a smaller boat that is not as costly and will serve you for years. If you plan to be renting the boat out, it might be best get a big one from the start, as that gives the highest ROI.

Sauna Stove options

An electric sauna stove is the most suitable for a stationary sauna boat at the docks where you have access to shore power. Electric heaters can be controlled better for temperature and if you can stretch your budget more, you can opt for a having distance control from your smartphone. This is convenient to use and means less hassle, since you would not have to worry about carrying wood onboard and making fire every time you need to heat up the sauna. 

On the other hand, we Estonians are huge fans of wood-burning stoves in the sauna. We consider it a true back-to-the-roots experience, even more so when it’s a smoke sauna. Nevertheless, some people believe that there is a certain extra ounce of authenticity when there is a flame included. With a wood-burning stove in your sauna boat, you are able to take the sauna out for a spin and enjoy the scenery away from the shore. On the flipside, most marinas frown upon a smoking chimney or have gone to the extent of restricting it altogether. If you are considering a wood-burning stove, you probably need to either have your own dock, or agree with the neighbours or the marina before getting a sauna boat with a chimney. Otherwise, every time you heat up the sauna, you need to get away from the shore.

Other options are gas and infrared sauna heaters. These are quite the exquisite options for a sauna boat and we shall definitely not shy away from these, should you wish to have these on your sauna boat. Although, we would recommend sticking to what works best for getting the temperature up on a floating sauna - either electricity or wood. 

Photo by HUUM on Unsplash

Marine Engines

There are roughly two types of marine engines available for small crafts: electric and central combustion engines. Let’s start with the most common option, which is the latter. Marine central combustion engines have been around for a long time and by now they are designed to be reliable and balanced in terms of fuel consumption and power output. If you need an engine on your sauna boat, we normally advise to get a petrol engine. However, in some countries, petrol engines are no longer a legal option, so you are left with either an electric engine or a stationary sauna boat. We do not make sailboats with saunas, yet. 

Electric outboard engines are developed to be less harmful for the environment and quieter, although these are more expensive than conventional engines. In the application for a sauna boat, we typically need to consider the availability of sufficient power output. The smallest of our sauna boats need at least 12kW to propel the boat efficiently. Since this is quite a demand from a power source, you need a large enough battery pack that could be costly as well. If you get a large enough battery pack on a small sauna boat, you might be able to trip around for one or two hours. Having a couple of extra solar-panels might regenerate some electricity and help increase the duration, depending on your latitude. Now, when it comes to the heating element in the sauna, this will probably have to be non-electric, since it would demand a lot more power than the engine. 

When we equip an engine on the sauna boat, we include a distance steering column. This is needed for the captain of the boat to comfortably sit, see 360 degrees around the perimeter and operate the boat in a safe manner. Other safety features are lights at the front and sides that also come with the engine option on our boats. 

To sum up, if you are thinking of a self-propelling sauna boat that fits more than four people in the sauna, your best choice in 2021 is still a petrol engine with a wood-burning stove.  

Starting up a Floating Sauna Rental Business?

Whenever our sales guy Leho is on a call with any of our clients, normally his first question would be: “What are you looking to do with the boat?” Renting out a sauna boat is gaining huge popularity. There are already some great examples in Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki and various other cities in the world. Pertaining to our experience, the best option is to try out your business model step-by-step. For size, we recommend getting a sauna boat that fits at least six people in the sauna or better yet, 12 to maximize your potential return on equity invested. 

For rental, we first recommend a stationary sauna boat. If you are new to the hospitality business, starting out by taking trips with your floating sauna might be a good idea, but taking into account the revenue you would be missing on your drop-in-clients, it makes sense to have a stationary sauna boat at first. Not to mention that you'd have to "provide" the captain as well. When you have gathered proof that there is demand for a change in scenery, you can mount an engine on the existing boat or get a smaller extra sauna boat for trips around your body of water. 

If you would like to get a floating sauna for personal use, consider how many people would be using the sauna at the same time and take your pick amongst the various models based on that. Moreover, you probably need to consider the aspects described above, as well. 

Conclusion

With a stationary sauna boat, provided you have shore power, you would need an electric sauna stove and all lighting can run on shore voltage. You can also moor the boat at a marina, provided you have such an agreement with the owner, if necessary. This is most suitable for a sauna rental application but also for people who would like to spice up their life at their summer house without the extra hassle of gathering firewood and setting up fires every time.

Engine-powered sauna boats usually have a wood-burning stove, and might not be so easy to run. You would have to think about fuel for the engine as well as for the stove. On the other hand, it offers you mobility and a change of scenery - you can have a sauna session anywhere on water. This can be a very cool experience.