To steer a foot pedal boat, also known as a paddle boat, apply more pressure on the left or right paddle depending in which direction you want to go. The paddle boat is propelled by a wheel with flat surfaces extending from the center that act like paddles when the wheel spins.
Many paddle boats have two seats. A lever between the two seats controls a rudder that also helps with steering the boat. Mostly made for recreational use, paddle boats move at very slow speeds and are very safe to use. The boats are designed to reach a maximum speed, after which it doesn't matter how hard the users pedal -- the boat does not go any faster. Some paddle boats can be used by a single person with a set of pedals on each side of a central seat.
The wheel of foot pedal boats are modelled using the same concepts as those used in the larger and more powerful paddle steamers that were used for river transportation. The smaller foot pedal boats are designed for the calmer waters of ponds and lakes. They are often rented for pleasure rides in the smaller lakes of urban parks. Leonardo da Vinci's diagram of a pedal-powered boat is the earliest known design of this type of vessel.