Buccaneer at Six Flags Great Adventure     


One of the oldest fair attractions was a swing ride which held several passengers and was powered by people standing on the ends, swinging higher and higher until the gondola was nearly perpendicular to the ground below. Often these rides were boat shaped, though limited in capacity by the amount of weight the attendants can move. In the late 1970's INTAMIN took the concept of the singing boat and added modern technology, creating large boats that could hold dozens of riders, driven by computer controlled electric motors. The modern swinging ship ride has become a staple of fairs and parks around the world.


Through the years, Six Flags has always been on the cutting edge of thrills, introducing the latest and greatest rides in parks from coast to coast. In the late 1970's when the modern swinging ship style ride was introduced, Six Flags was quick to introduce the rides in all of their parks, with Great Adventure receiving one of the very first.

The Buccaneer was added to the park for the 1980 season along with the adjacent Adventure Theater, with both attractions replacing the Grand Prix electric go-kart ride which had been in the park since opening day in 1974.



When the Buccaneer was introduced it was a marquis attraction, drawing long lines of riders. The swinging ship ride was a novelty and Six Flags Great Adventure was the first park in the area to feature one.

The Buccaneer was an INTAMIN Bounty ride, featuring an elaborate pirate ship theme complete with mast and furled sails and a crows nest at the center along with a figure head on the bow and skull and crossbones at the stern.

Part of the thrill of the Buccaneer was waiting in line, and as guests got closer to the ride they were practically under the ship as it swung back and forth, feeling the breeze as it passed overhead. As they made their way toward the ride, those who were apprehensive got a further test of their nerves as the powerful motors would propel the ride higher and higher, shaking the ground with each direction change.

Originally the line split as it snaked around the back of the ride, with half the crowd going toward the ship's bow and the other half toward the stern. Often there was a mad dash for seats when the gates were opened, with the bravest thrill seekers making a beeline towards the end row seats, and those with weaker stomachs heading for the center of the ship where the arc of the swing was more tolerable and the view less scary.

The seats at the ends have always been the most coveted since the ends of the ship swing past the 90 degree point and offer the terrifying view into the pit below the ride.

Like many of the park's flat rides, the Buccaneer was originally designed for the European fair circuit, and featured an elaborate lighting package which was intended to draw guests from far off daytime or night. The hundreds of lights lining the front legs of the structure and the ride sign blinked in patterns chasing  and flashing in alternating colors.

In 1985, the Buccaneer was overshadowed by its sister ride, Looping Starship, another INTAMIN ride creation which took the concept to the next level with complete 360 degree rotations using a nearly identical design and drive system.



Technical Information
Manufacturer: Intamin - Germany
Ride Type: Pendulum ride
Ride Model: Bounty
Number of Seats: 10 rows (5 each side of center)
Number of Guests per Seat: 5 people
Number of Guests per Cycle: 50 people
Ride Duration: 90 seconds
Loading Time: 70 seconds
Unloading Titme: 20 seconds
Cycle Time: 3 minutes
Approximate Capacity: 1000 guests per hour
Dimensions of Ride Base: 55 feet x 40 feet
Height of Ride: 44 feet
Height of Boat in Full Swing: 66 feet
Length of Boat: 46 feet
Width of Boat: 9 feet
Safety Restraint: Centrally controlled locking lap bars
Description: The passengers of the Bounty ride in a beautifully      
themed fiberglass boat which appears to be constructed
of old wooden planks. The swinging ride starts with a
smooth back and forth motion with increasing speed
in both directions. The swinging motion results in
an angle of up to approx. 75 degrees. As the arc
of the pendulum increases to total operating height,
the riders experience sensations of speed, rocking
motion, and relative weightlessness.  

Click the placard below to view video of

To go along with the ship theme a small pond was constructed in front of the ride complete with a gangplank style exit ramp over the water. This water feature also reflected the lights after dark.

The ride platform and area was further themed with old telephone poles designed to look like pilings. For many years one of the piling in the front of the ride platform still had bands of red, white and green which were remnants of a telephone pole mounted fire call box from the pilings previous life. The old telephone poles creosote coating leant an authentic smell of a wharf.

The pond in front of the ride and the gangplank featured pilings and rope to serve as railings, with wooden railings later being added to the gangplank for safety. During the 2009 season the landscaping in front of the Buccaneer was enhanced with a small sand dune style look and additional pilings.