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Thread: swamped airboats, operation safety and boat design

  1. #1
    Member faithnhim's Avatar
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    Default swamped airboats, operation safety and boat design

    OK, this is my first airboat post. I am a lifetime Alaskan with years of riverboat, airplane and ATV experience but never been in an airboat before. I have been planning to buy one for many years and I think itís getting closer. Iím working on a possible build project with Skip right now but I canít get this one thing out of my mind. I have been reading everything I can and I havenít found much about the contributing factors to airboat submersions and building a boat that reduces this risk. The one thing I can understand is the rolling tendencies due to the prop momentum but I forget what that is called . The other thing that makes sense to me is that having that heavy engine above water line seems that it could cause the boat to be tippy.
    So, maybe some of you could share your experience as to why an airboat can swamp or roll over and then explain how you can reduce that risk in both operation and construction/design. Wider boats with deep sides seem to make sense but I have not found much to read about that. I have also seen the hull constructed so the hull is level in the engine area and that would seem to help keep water from coming in the back compared to those that are all open.
    I have a young family with 3 boys under 5 and another one due this spring. Safety is my first concern when considering a new toy. The other thing that I notice is that I have not seen anyone wear seat belts. Some of the places I have seen an airboat go, it would seem that you could have a sudden slowdown that could eject passengers. Is that not the case or is it just as dangerous to wear a belt and be stuck in a boat in the event of a capsize as it is for someone to be ejected?? Little people cannot defend themselves as well as adults can so I am worried about sending them into the bow or worse, outside of the boat. I will continue to read safety tips on southern airboats but I was just not sure if Alaska designed boats can reduce some of these risks and I was hoping to glean from some of the Alaskan experienced boaters. Maybe airboating is just not for a young family??

  2. #2
    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    Faith,
    Give me a call at 746-4868. Might be able to help you out with Q's and all.
    Brian

  3. #3
    Member akblackdawg's Avatar
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    Right now my boat is down but I expect to have it up and running this next week. It sounds as if you have never been on a airboat. If you try one, a lot of your questions will be answered. Yes, wide and deep are a great help, experience is a even greater asset. If you learn to run them with common sense and to look ahead at where you are goining and plan ahead, you can stay out of trouble. People can be ejected without seat belts, people can drown with seat belts, most perfer no seat belts. Skip builds a nice enclosed cab that will keep you and your family comfortable while riding in cold and wet conditions, it also helps prevent ejection. I always wear a life jacket, your family should also. Talk with us, and go on some rides as part of your decision making. Hope to hear from you. Bud
    Wasilla

  4. #4
    Member faithnhim's Avatar
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    I talked airboats with BKMAIL today and what a huge help!! Iím looking at an airboat very similar to his and it was great to add his experience to the list of things to consider. Thanks for taking the time with me!!! Much appreciated!
    Bud, you area correct, I have never set foot in an airboat before but I am excited to change that. Until I can gain experience, I want the safest boat I can find. I kind of figured that the seat belt thing was a hard call. Stuck under water or knocked unconscious, neither option sounds appealing. As you say, experience should be able to help reduce the risks of operation. I agree, life jackets are a must. The kids hated them but itís the price to pay to play on the water. They are pretty much resigned to that now. I am planning to jump in with bkmail at some point in the future so I will get a better idea of operation and safety so that will be a huge help. If itís anything like described, its as close to flying as I will ever get on the ground. I think I will ride on the bow of the boat so I donít get too attached the cabin;-)) That is in the future for sure. Thanks again to you both for the help. Thanks again to Skip who has patiently suffered all of my questions. If I do it this way, you wonít see a post on here asking how to sell my boat so I can upgrade to a better one;-) I am hoping to do it right the first time.

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