Kickstarting A Bathing Machine

Kickstarting A Bathing Machine

Back in 2014 we launched a Kickstarter campaign to build a Sea Bathing Machine. With incredible support from around the world we raised over £30k. This generated a lot of interest including George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces on Channel Four back in 2015 and several magazine features but most importantly it captured the imaginations of our neighbours and customers.

For those of you who haven’t seen this project before, we decided to build a traditional sea bathing machine using local crafts people that contained a sauna. Pretty simple right? Sadly not.

Since then we have shared a couple of updates but not really explained the pressure this put on Haeckels, the team and the people involved in the project.


“We kept hearing that the ‘seasons’ affected local trade so significantly and we wanted a way to make Margate and our beaches a destination all year round. Inspired by the saunas of Reykjavik we wanted to create a concept that could be duplicated and used around the coastline of the UK, not just Thanet.

This machine would be transported down to the beach and people would be able to enjoy a luxurious sauna before jumping into the cold sea water to cool down. In principle this is quite simple but we hadn’t planned for so many complications or challenges.”
Dom Bridges, Founder of Haeckels.


bathing machine designs

The Build
Once we had raised the funds we were able to commission full designs and a build using skills locally. We wanted to prove to the world that great things could continue to be made in Margate and that it was much more that just a weekend get away destination.

The build of the machine went well, but it was evident we hadn’t considered some of the complexities and the cost of high standards.

We wanted to build the worlds best, and if we are honest, we over engineered it. This lead to the machine being too heavy and almost impossible to move. It’s top speed is now 3mph, on a good day and with a smooth road.

The Costs
To date the machine has cost nearly £100k to develop, build and store and it has only hit the beach twice. This was never planned to make a profit but we weren’t expecting to spend an additional £70k on this.

Despite a global reach, Haeckels is a small business and this kind of cost has a huge impact.

In short, to fund the machine we sold part of the business. The most painful thing you can do when you love what you have built with the people around you but it had to be done.

If we hadn’t taken some investment we would have lost the bathing machine completely. We promised to deliver it and we will.

What’s Next?
We’ve been working incredibly hard to get this machine on our beaches and enable everyone to experience it. It has created so much joy for us but also a lot of pain.

The bathing machine is now parked in Margate awaiting the steps to be attached and a winch to be added. We’ve managed to fund these ourselves and these will be added by the end of July.

We Need Help
We don’t want your money but we need your help, connections and support. Haeckels need to find a beach location where we can park the machine and make it available to all.

Ideally we wanted to use Margate Main Sands but the bathing machine has got stuck on here in the past so we need to find some alternatives for 2018.

If you’ve got a location or know someone who can assist us please do get in touch using

We really can’t wait to share this incredible experience with you all.