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October 27, 2016

Relaxation and fun with ‘sloeps’

‘Tuckerboote’ are the latest trend on Berlin and Brandenburg waterways

Cruising along in a ‘sloep’ the perfect way to relax. In Hall 4 of BOAT & FUN BERLIN, exhibitors will be presenting the full spectrum of these mostly open-decked boats, designed for inland and other sheltered waterways, and rapidly becoming a big hit on lakes and rivers in and around Berlin. With a midship wheel and controls and a normally low-power engine they provide all that is needed for a bit of recreation and fun, either for a day's outing on the Havel River or a weekend trip to Mecklenburg.

Manufacturers sporting trademarks such as Interboat, Maril, Menken, Cooper and Alfastreet will be showcasing the entire range of these small motorboats – commonly known as ‘sloeps’ – on more than 600 square metres. They range from simple daytime leisure boats, right up to sophisticated lifestyle accessories for high-level after-work meetings or other social events on the water. The five ‘sloep’models by Interboat, including its Intender 820 flagship, are a particular highlight. They are being displayed as half-shell models in the same position they would normally be when afloat.

Sloeps (derived from the French word ‘chaloupe’ and not to be confused with the English ‘sloop’) have been used for centuries to transport goods and passengers in areas criss-crossed by waterways and in coastal waters and harbours. Typically they are open boats without a deep keel. The sound of their engines has led to the German nickname: ‘Tuckerboote’ – best translated as ‘put-put boats’. Nowadays, the builders make every effort to keep the engines so quiet that they are barely audible, thanks to under-floor installation. They were first discovered for recreational use in the Netherlands. Families, friends and business partners can celebrate special events, hold undisturbed meetings or simply enjoy a day’s outing on a sloep.

Most sloeps are designed along the lines of classic lifeboat hulls and are therefore very stable and safe on the water. They offer almost unrestricted freedom to move around in the boat and are just the right thing for perfect relaxation.

Individual outfitting options are just as unrestricted. On the one hand the sloep, as a simple craft, mirrors today’s downsizing trend by adopting the style of old-time harbour launches. On the other hand, ambitious hobby skippers are offered numerous ways of fitting out their sloep to create a luxury or high-tech vessel. It can be fitted with a several hundred horsepower engine or driven by an electric motor and solar panels. Accessories range from fold-down awnings to swim platforms, refrigerators and hi-fi systems. The larger models are available with cabins and restrooms and luxury versions boast teak and mahogany finishes and sophisticated upholstery.