Arch bridge for bucket boats

Bucket Boats

When a standard SnooperTM truck just won’t do, our Bucket Boats are the perfect solution. Our patented Bucket Boats are changing the way America inspects bridges. With working heights up to 65 ft, shallow water capability, and a stabilization system of outrigger pontoons and sea anchors, our Bucket Boats have become the most popular piece of bridge inspection equipment to date.


  • Bucket Boats

Working height: 65′
Lateral reach: 27′ 9″ from center of boat
Bucket rating: 440 lb.
Width: 18′ 2″ (with outriggers deployed)
Length: 30′
Weight: 18,000 lb.
Min. traveling under-clearance: 9′ 2″
Min. working under-clearance: 9′ 10″
Draft: works in shallow water
Vertical reach to bottom of bucket: 60′

Our Bucket Boats (U.S. Patent 6,698,371,B1) are innovative vessels designed to make inspecting and repairing lower level water crossings simple and efficient. Martin Fruitman, the mechanical engineer/patent attorney who procured the patent for our Bucket Boat, called it “the Eighth Wonder of the World.”

Harcon’s Bucket Boats are equipped with all Coast Guard mandated devices for small commercial watercraft. Additionally, they have a foot-operated hydraulic bow thruster, hydraulic spud, hydraulic anchor, an onboard compressor, and pneumatic grinders and chisels for bridge cleaning. On many structures, there’s no safer, more efficient, more cost-effective method of access available.

What are the advantages of a Bucket Boat?

Put simply, the advantages are safety and efficiency. Our Bucket Boats allow for an NBIS compliant bridge inspection without lane closures or track time. At Harcon, we understand closing a lane to traffic is risky and too often, lethal. So, anytime you have the option to keep traffic running, you should give that option your most serious consideration. The safety of workers and the traveling public is paramount. In addition, our Bucket Boats save time and money. We provide access without requiring additional traffic personnel or equipment, which in turn allows for quicker inspections.

Does Harcon use other boats as well?

For lower level structures, and on structures when launching a Bucket Boat is impractical, Harcon provides several other marine access options.

Pontoon Boats

Harcon offers a pair of pontoon boats with adjustable scaffolding, both approved and stamped by a professional engineer. For structures with freeboard up to 18 ft, we offer a large pontoon boat with adjustable height Biljax scaffolding. On low-level structures, where no ramps are available, we offer a small pontoon boat, also with Biljax scaffolding.This smaller pontoon can be launched or skidded down banks and retrieved with a cable winch.

For one bridge, or for a string of them along a waterway, these pontoon boats are an extremely efficient way to inspect bridges. Except for structures with difficult launch sites, only one man is required to operate them. No lane closures are required.

Safety Boats

Harcon also offers several power safety boats, the smallest of which can be hand-carried and launched.