The pleasure that you get from seeing someone falling into a tub of cold, probably dirty water says a lot about you. It is right up there with slipping on banana peels and getting pie in the face. However, the fact remains that it is a lot of fun, so the Kingpin decrees you should know everything about dunk tanks.
Therefore, it shall be.
For all of the clueless out there that has never been to a halfway decent team building seminar, a dunk tank is precisely what it sounds like: a tank where people get dunked. Basically, it is a man-sized water tank (usually clear for everyone’s enjoyment) over which a person (preferably someone dignified or important) sits on a rigged plank or seat, and a target. Anyone with a mean streak can step up and try to hit the target. A good hit will trigger a mechanism that will collapse the plank and dump whoever is sitting on it into the tank of water. Voila!
Dunk tanks are a popular way to raise money. Take for example the efforts of Bob Cashell, the mayor of Reno, to raise money for ALS of Nevada. Remember the Ice Bucket Challenge? Cashell decided to put an even chillier twist to it by inviting people to take a turn at trying to dump Spark City council members into a tank of ice water for charity. It was probably a very well attended event. Talk about getting back at government!
The typical carnival dunk tank has been described above. One of the most popular brands for the typical dunk tank is the Easy Dunker by Twister Display. This brand is a popular one used for dunk tank rentals. You can find dunk tanks for sale so you will have it all the time, of course, but be ready to shell out BIGTIME. It is a four feet deep plastic tank with a clear plastic window and a plastic seat surrounded by chain-link fence as protection from less-than-accurate shots. It can be disassembled and towed using a trailer. A newer version merely makes it easier for the dumpee to get onto the seat. Dunk tank rental prices will vary, but on average this will set you back about $250 for four hours.
Other brands are available, of course. This one comes with a cute shark graphic and good for dunkees up to 250 lb. The tank contains 500 gallons of water. Rent a dunk tank like this for $300. There are also variations to this type of dunk tank for kids that are shallower, and for more than one dunkee.
The tank is definitely the biggest component of the dunk tank, which can make transport difficult. Some manufacturers solved this by making the tank foldable. One such dunk tank maker is Bouncin Bins, which got around the tank problem by using metal panels that snap together on site. This provides the support for the vinyl lining that will actually hold the water. The typical folding tank comes with a dolly.
Expect to pay around $140 for a dunking tank rental for four hours or save some money by picking it up at about $215 for four days in some locations. You can also find this dunk tank for sale at about $2,100, which includes liner, seat, release mechanism, and the backdrop. You will need a garden hose to fill up the liner, and it takes about 30 minutes to get it done.
Non-dunk Dunk Tanks
Now some people do not like the idea of being dumped into water where other people have been in. There are alternatives to dunk tanks for the more squeamish dunkee. One example is the Silly Shower shown below:
The major difference between the Silly Shower and a dunk tank is there is no tank. Instead, the “dunkee” is drenched with water when someone hits the target. There are obvious advantages to this alternative fun stall. It uses less water, the water is (probably) clean, and the smallest kids can have a turn at getting wet just as well as the biggest (and heaviest) adults. It can even be used indoors! Of course, it does not have the “ahhhhhh!” factor of getting dunked in a tank of cold water. Renting one of these Silly Shower stalls will cost you about $350.
A variation to this is the Big Splash (shown above), which uses even less water. It takes up less space than a traditional dunk tank, and you only use up one bucket of water per hit. However, you will have to refill the bucket or replace the empty one every time, which can be a bit of a drag. Shell out $200 to rent this bad boy. If you think this is better than an actual dunking booth for sale, you would be right price-wise. You get to choose the graphic for $995.
The Splash Blast, on the other hand, uses both air and water to discomfit the person under target. Once the target is hit, pressurized water blasts up from the floor of the booth up to 12 feet and then falls down on the “dunkee” like a waterfall. It sure beats going to Niagara Falls! Expect to pay about $250 for a four-hour rental.
Water Balloon Battle is also a different way to have fun with water, but this gives everyone a fighting chance. In the typical water balloon fight, you have to dodge water-filled missiles by going all over the place. Using the water battle stations is much neater and controlled. It comes with a plastic shield and water balloon launcher. When you rent, the price usually includes two battle stations. You can also check this one out if you have the space:
DIY Dunk Tanks
You can make your own dunk booth if you have a mind to. You could find used dunk tanks for sale and used that or your could use an inflatable pool. The real problem is the trigger mechanism. When you buy a dunk tank, it already comes with that so that is the big advantage. However, if you really want to know how to build a dunk tank, your should check out this site on, er, how to make a dunk tank. Pay special attention on how to get the dunkee into the dunking tank. After all, what is a dunktank that does not dunk?
There you have it! A whole slew of things you never knew you wanted or needed to know about dunk tanks! And maybe a little more than you wanted. However, as the Kingpin says, if something is worth doing, it is worth overdoing.
Get wet soon!