How to Use an Old Boat as a Fish Pond

Repurpose that old boat in your yard into a working fish pond.

Either sink it into the ground to disguise that it is a boat, or display it as-is--it's sure to pleasantly surprise guests to your garden. This quick and easy project will result in a garden feature you'll enjoy for years to come. Treat it as more than just an oversized goldfish bowl; regular cleanings, aquatic plants, pond filters and self-cleaning fish tank snails should do the trick to maintain this fun water feature. .

Clean out the old boat thoroughly with a hose and rag. A metal boat works best to transform into a fish pond, although plastic will as well. Allow to dry.

Plug any holes in the boat securely and use fish-safe silicone sealant to seal them.

Choose an appropriate area for the pond in your yard. It should be shielded from direct sunlight and trees that may drop leaves. If you want to sink the boat into the ground, use a shovel to dig a hole for the boat. Place the boat in the hole, making sure the rim is slightly above ground so that dirty runoff water does not pollute the pond. Then push the dirt back in around the edges of the boat and pat firm with your foot.

Fill the boat with water. Add rocks, marbles or pebbles to the bottom, and add any aquatic plants you would like; these can be purchased from a pet store. Install a mechanical filter to clean out waste from the pond and aerate it. Install a chemical or biological filter that keeps harmful chemicals at bay. Add fish-tank snails to the boat, which will live underwater and help keep the pond clean.

Add goldfish to the pond. To clean the pond boat, simply remove the goldfish temporarily, set aside in a bowl of water, and follow the instructions for cleaning that come with the pond filters.

Things You Will Need

  • Boat
  • Hose
  • Rags
  • Silicone sealant
  • Shovel
  • Mechanical filter
  • Biological filter
  • Water plants
  • Snails
  • Goldfish


  • Inquire at the pet store about proper care of the particular type of fish you want to put in your pond.
  • Learn proper feeding amounts and times to keep your fish happy and healthy.


  • Do not use a boat that is painted. The paint could peel and become harmful to your fish, or the paint may be old and contain lead, in which case you should avoid coming into contact with it as well.
  • Make sure the fish have enough room to swim around and grow in your new boat pond.
  • Put your pond in an area where tree debris will not litter it and where it gets an appropriate amount of sun for the type of fish you select.

About the Author

Anne Wilson is a writer and editor covering business and finance news, politics, issues affecting women and minorities, health, gardening, fashion and the environment. Most recently an associate editor for a nationally acclaimed magazine, Wilson also worked for The Associated Press and as a daily news reporter for several years. She has lived in California her entire life.