Safety at Sea

What Is Required For the Safe Operation of an Airboat?

In order to efficiently operate an airboat a variety of safety and registration rules need to be abided by. Regulations are likely to vary from state to state, but in general the guidelines are in place to ensure an airboat is operated in an effective and safe manner. Safety equipment in place is likely to be a high requirement.


Having the right safety gear and equipment for operating an airboat

A fun and versatile airboat is highly enjoyable to ride, but if not operated in a safe and efficient manner they are susceptible to sinking or capsizing; often as a result of lacking flotation and ease in which they are able to lose balance. In addition, the air boats aren’t designed to operate in reverse; as a consequence it can be more difficult to avoid a potential situation in the water.

It is also crucial for the air boat operator to be mindful of the debris, sand, or water which might pass through the propeller and in the direction of other motor-driven boats. A high level of boat safety is highly desirable for all boats, including the air boats, and might include:

Life Jackets — a first requirement to boat safety is likely to relate to wearing a lifejacket, which is mandatory in many states for the person under 18 years of age. Even if not a requirement by law to wear a lifejacket for the adults, it is often highly recommended that a lifejacket is worn by all on board to ensure the full safety and protection at all times. A lifejacket must be able to fit appropriately for the size of person.

Fire extinguisher — a fully functional manual or semi-automatic fire extinction system is highly desirable on all makes and models of water craft that are equipped with inboard or outboard machinery. In the event of an engine fire you want to have access to an extinguisher for putting out the flames as soon as possible.

Navigational lights — in order to operate in complete safety in low light conditions you want to make certain that the navigation lights are mounted on board the vessel. Beyond just having the ability to operate in a safe manner, navigational lights are also ideal to alert other boat owners of the presence of the air boat.

Flags — a further great safety aspect relates to having the right complement of flags on board the air boat. A key flag is likely to relate to the diver down flag, which is required in those situations where the diver is in the water for a variety of reasons. A flag needs to be at a height of 10-ft above the air boat, and sized in the region of 10″ x 12″.
Sound distress device — lastly, you might want to make certain you have access to a distress signal or sound device is highly desirable to have onboard the air boats in the event of an emergency situation. A sound device is highly effective at attracting the attention of other boats in the local area and the distress alert signal is needed to give an instant indication that help is required.

What registration requirements are needed for operating an airboat?

In order that a full operational airboat can be used in public bodies of water it is necessary to the registered with the local state authorities. If you are planning on using the air boats in private ponds or other bodies of water, registration isn’t likely to be mandatory. Also, the paddle powered vessels, such as the kayaks and canoes aren’t in need of registration.

A registration certificate is a requirement for those situations where you might be stopped by the local police or Coast Guard, and required to clearly indicate the right paperwork for operation and ownership. Registration costs are likely to relate to the state laws and size of water craft.

Is it easy to arrange insurance on an airboat?

If you are looking at the viability of arrange insurance on an airboat, many of the insurance companies are likely to be very restrictive in relation to offering this type of coverage since the airboats can be quite dangerous. It shouldn’t be difficult to arrange a liability only insurance policy, which will make sure you are protected against damage to a third party, person or property. In the states that have a large number of waterways that are used by air boat operators, it is likely to be easier to arrange insurance coverage beyond just the personal liability insurance.

Building Portal

Airboat Plans: How to Build an Airboat

Building an air boat form ‘scratch’ requires a quality set of air boat plans: consisting of complete step by step directions, materials list, full-sized patterns and hand or powered-tools required. Air boat plans designed for the first-timer builder come complete with easy-to-follow instructions to help get a self-build project started as soon as possible.

Airboat in Action

Highly maneuverable in use, the shallow bottomed boat, with its airplane-style engine and propeller, is put to use for multiple applications. This includes its use for general water enthusiasts, tourist trips, search and rescue, fishing, etc., and operates in saltwater or freshwater. Designed to skim shallow waters or marshlands, a one or two-seat air boat is constructed with a high center of gravity to offer a solid, stable performance at speed.

Perfect for maneuvering through stump-filled swamps, vegetation-filled lakes (or similar inaccessible trails), or even deep waters, the mini air boat offers one of the finest modes of transport for skimming-across shallow waters, at a depth of 2 or 3 inches.

Most of the parts needed to self-construct an air boat are often available at a local DIY store – although, if purchasing a complete do it yourself air boat kit all parts come prepackaged for complete ease in getting started.

Authentic Mini Plans and Kits

AirBoatFun, Canadian Airboats, and Glen-L offer a great selection of reliable mini air boat building plans designed to aid in the construction of 1 or 2-seater air or swamp boat. Featuring a straight-forward construction process, these plans assist in each step of the build process, including such works as the frame, deck, engine mount, propeller cage, etc, as well as installing the electronics and controls.

Mini air boat kits often complete with all items related to the fiberglass (containing resin, strips of tape, roller, squeegee, and brush) and standard fastenings (all screws and nails required).

Self-build plans are often customized to target a particular use, such as those aimed at fishing or hunting activities, often come designed with a wide variety of extras – rod holders, dome lights, a full walk-around, swivel seats on bow, Bimini top, intercom system – for instance.

Airboat Fundamentals

Steered and operated via acceleration, the use of a swamp boat calls on navigating skills that are not seen with similar on-water recreational vehicles. An air boat needs to be up on plane to function at full capacity, achieving this is possible by opening the throttle to ½ to ¾ of maximum speed – once up on plane, lift off the accelerator, and continue to control the vehicle on plane.

No brakes, just a gas pedal / throttle control – a standard air boat isn’t configured to go in reverse – on the water, the forward-momentum of a air boat slows as soon as the accelerator is lifted, dropping of plane, and the friction of the water. Operational control – relating to maneuvers and stops – is learned through experience.

Homemade air boat plans are often designed with the configuration of a single seat at the front for the operator, and 1 or 2 seats at the rear for passengers, although specifications are also available with a single seat design for sole use of the operator. Besides the fun aspects to the swamp boat – these machines also function for a variety of professional functions, such as those aimed at general pleasure, search and rescue, sports activities (fishing or hunting), eco-tourism, law enforcement, and military use.

Professional vs. Home Built

Self-construction air boat plans offer great-savings compared to the costs of purchasing a manufactured, ready-to-fish machine available at a local boat dealership. A 2009 model, 11-ft x 7-ft full deck swamp boat for instance, costs in the region of $4,995 in the preowned market, although this will come with a 150Hp engine, stainless-steel exhaust and rigging, electronic instruments, and 4-blade propeller.

Savings can also be found in a refurbishment project, such projects include those vessels requiring a complete refit, the salvaged or hurricane damaged – as well as the seized, confiscated, or repossessed boats available at boat auctions.

The potential to self build a DIY air boat, sailing boat, kayak, or glass-bottom boat at a fraction of the cost is there – provided that a high-quality set of small air boat plans are to hand.