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Thread: airboat use in prince william sound?

  1. #1

    Question airboat use in prince william sound?

    Anyone have actual experience with airboat use in prince william sound?
    I am considering purchasing an airboat. A local dealer is saying "no problem". I am not convinced. Will a typical large (say 8 x 20) flat bottom, turned up bow, airboat pound you to death and/or flip on a typical moderate wind/wave day in Prince William Sound..........?

    The only airboat I have seen that looks like it would work is made by Husky (Canada) model = "Nattiq". It seems fine, except it costs $97,000 for a stripped down six passenger F.O.B. at factory........

  2. #2
    Member AKBighorn's Avatar
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    Default

    I am no expert on airboats but I have been on them and watched them run. I would not suggest an airboat in the open water for any reason. Just my 2 cents but I think that would be like signing a death wish.

  3. #3

    Exclamation Air boat On PWS?

    Can we split up all your cool stuff when your gone?
    Get an inflatable, relitivly cheap very safe, mnore versatile.
    Wear neoprenes and a rain coat you'll be fine even in snotty weather.
    Rob

  4. #4
    Member fullkurl's Avatar
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    Unhappy help us...

    Welcome to the ODD forum, Tito.

    Perhaps the worst racket we ever heard was when some yahoo launched an airboat down in valdez harbor and um...motored...er, fanned... that thing around Allison Point. We counted the seconds until that noise polluting monster was shut off.
    So much for peace and tranquility while fishing with your family in the Great Land.


    Save yourself about, oh, $93,000 cdn and plenty of eardrum damage and get yourself an inflatable...<please>!

  5. #5

    Default saw one

    Saw....er...heard and then saw an airboat in Culross Pass (about 15 miles out of Whittier?) a few weekends ago. Heard him long after he passed. Didn't hear of any deaths on the water that weekend, so assume he survived. Water was flat. I can't see an airboat on anything but flat water, and who can predict with certainty flat water. I would not recommend it.

  6. #6
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    Tito: I might suggest you call the Coast Guard Recreational Boating Safety Specialist tomorrow at (907) 463-2297. He's got over 30 years experience boating in Alaska (including airboats) plus he ran Prince William Sound out of Whittier for 13 years before moving to Juneau to work for the Coast Guard. He knows what airboats and PWS are capable of and won't steer you wrong.

  7. #7
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    Default Not Recommended

    Tito, Airboats are made for running in shallow to no water not deep water. They are prone to swamping and have a high center of balance which makes them prone to roll over in waves and wind all of which have a regular prescence in the Sound. Even when it's nice and glassy, the weather can come up on a moment's notice.

    Every year here in Cordova, airboats are swamped or sunk or rolled over. Usually it's no harm done to the occupants because the water is shallow enough to stand up in. But years ago I lost two friends down on the Bering River when they made a quick stop and their wake caught them from behind and swamped the boat. They sank in front of the group they were hunting with and never came up.

    I know a guy who two years ago helped bring out 7 moose for people with his airboat. He swamped it 4 times that year including once with his wife in it, and once with me and another guy in it. We were coming down a small stream about 2 feet deep and the current carried us long on a hairpin corner. When we hit the far bank we rolled up on our side and half filled the boat with water and about 500 lbs of silt. We managed to right it and empty it out and continue on our way, but a couple of his swampings that year covered the engine. On another hunt a few years back three friends were going cross country in an airboat and hit something that rolled them over. While they were still crawling out from under the boat, gass dripped on the hot exhaust manifolds and caught on fire burning the boat and all their gear, leaving them stranded 7 miles from the boat they were staying on as darkness approached. Luckily a plane flew by and saw the smoke and a Coast Guard helicopter rescued them.

    Airboats are ok for their intended use, but the Sound is no place for them.

  8. #8

    Default Don't do it

    Your local dealer is telling you everything you want to hear to sell his airboat. He's not being straight with you and he's giving you dangerous advice. He needs to find another line of work where B_ll S____ing an customer is not going to result in someones death.

  9. #9
    Member mod elan's Avatar
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    Thumbs down

    There are guys out there who use them in the sound and the risks are great. If the water gets too rough and/or the wind comes up then you are typically going to sit it out. I believe there are better types of boats for the sound. If you have a specific place or use in mind pm me and I'll let you know if others are doing it. Another thing is that amount of money seems like a waste for an airboat. Those boats look built more for S&R than personal use. My 2 cents worth.

  10. #10
    Sponsor potbuilder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by titobandito View Post
    Anyone have actual experience with airboat use in prince william sound?
    I am considering purchasing an airboat. A local dealer is saying "no problem". I am not convinced. Will a typical large (say 8 x 20) flat bottom, turned up bow, airboat pound you to death and/or flip on a typical moderate wind/wave day in Prince William Sound..........?

    The only airboat I have seen that looks like it would work is made by Husky (Canada) model = "Nattiq". It seems fine, except it costs $97,000 for a stripped down six passenger F.O.B. at factory........
    All i got to say is R U NUTS!

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  11. #11
    Member Alaska Gray's Avatar
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    I have seen a few air boats out there but I would not recomend it at all. The weather can change in an instint.
    Living the Alaskan Dream
    Gary Keller
    Anchorage, AK

  12. #12
    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default Airboat dealer?

    You mean they actually sell those noisey things up here? I thought they were custom built.

  13. #13
    Member Roger's Avatar
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    Default Dealers

    There's a dealer in Eagle River and Wasilla and Fairbanks

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