A sea tractor is a motor vehicle designed to travel through shallow seawater, usually carrying passengers on a platform suspended typically 2 meters (6 ft 7 in) or so above a tractor-like chassis. Early models of sea tractors had a 20–40 horsepower (15–30 kW) motor and a 10 person capacity. The sea tractor was most popular during the early 1930s, as a unique way to give scenic tours to patrons of waterfront hotels and resorts. In other applications, sea tractors were used merely as a ferry through shallow waters. Sea tractors are hardly used in present time - as boats, ferries, and other aquatic vessels often serve their function much more efficiently and comfortably.
The hotel at Burgh Island own and operate a sea tractor, to carry hotel guests, and other visitors, the 250 m (273 yd) to the island at high tide, when the causeway connecting the island to the mainland is covered. The current tractor is the third one to be used at this location.
A sea tractor is also used at South Sands Beach near Salcombe, Devon. The beach has no jetty or pier and the South Sands Ferry therefore cannot reach dry land to pick up passengers. The sea tractor transports passengers to the ferry waiting a few metres out to sea.
Transport to the Danish island of Mandø is done with tractors. However, these tractors are not specialized sea tractors but large conventional tractors with a trailer bus. Earlier, Æbelø was also served by a conventional tractor pulling a trailer.
TV and Movies
Sea tractors have been featured on the famous child's TV Show Teletubbies.
The Burgh Island sea tractor also appears as the method of transport between the mainland and the island in Evil Under the Sun (2001 film) TV series of ITV's Agatha Christie's Poirot. The second Burgh Island sea tractor features in the 1965 Dave Clark Five film "Catch Us If You Can'(1965). The Burgh Island sea tractor appears in the 1994 episode of the TV series Lovejoy “Somewhere over the rainbow?” (episode 66 of 73).
- BARV, a tracked military vehicle designed to wade through seawater up to 3 metres (9 ft 10 in) deep.
- Brighton and Rottingdean Seashore Electric Railway, a late 19th-century railway that ran on submerged rails.