As early as the mid-50's Arrow had kiddie boat rides in its catalogs. The first could be described as water carousels. They had a circular pool with the same central drive system used on their carousels.
|Kiddie Boat Ride @ Happyland demo park in Los Altos|
By the late 1950's Arrow had expanded the concept to fully landscaped boat rides with serpentine guide rails. Note the lead boat in the lower left corner of the image below. There appears to be a small gasoline powered motor in the lead boat. There also appear to be power cords entering the boats hulls on the port side, about two feet back from the prow and a foot above the waterline.
|Anderson twins and cousins at Playtown in Palo Alto|
US Patent 3113528, dated December 10, 1960, describes a Boat Ride Apparatus which uses a submerged guide wheels, running on one or more guide paths using "fixed guide and boat-mounted cooperating means, free of complexities and complicated controls, wholly automatic in operation and beyond change or adjustment by the boat passengers."
|US Patent 3113528 - Boat Ride Apparatus|
But first they had to be called in to fix the guide system for this;
Having mastered the technique of automatic submerged guidance, it was an easy deployment at the 1964 World's Fair.
|Prototype It's a Small World flume at Arrow's 1555 Plymouth site|
And from there to add a little rise and drop...
|Walt and staff enjoy a little pre-Pirate dip|
And bigger rises and drops...
|Knotts Berry Farm flume ride|
and even Bigger rises and drops...
I wonder what the guy in front is holding onto...
until you get one of these...
Santa Cruz Boardwalk Logger's Revenge
Until, by 1979 you have all these, all over the world;
|Arrow's 42 Flume Ride Locations in 1979|
Ready to get really wet, yet?