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Thread: Small Airboat for Alaskan use?

  1. #1
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    Default Small Airboat for Alaskan use?

    My early '90s 40/28 hp Suzuki OB jet motor powerhead bit the dust. I have used it for years on a 16 ft. jon boat to access a particularly rocky river where I live. The hull has been battered and breached numerous times and the engine sprung upward to locked position frequently when the foot contacts a rock. The old gal doesn't owe me a cent.

    I need to replace the craft. I've been thinking about a small airboat. With my past boat, I could transport 4 adults with fishing gear up and down the river. My RT distance is generally 30-40 miles. No speed records were set but it would do the job. I have toyed with the idea of a small airboat with an UHMW bottom. Does anyone have experience with these for use in Alaska? Durability? Carrying capacity? Fuel burn? Trusted manufacturers?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    As much as I love my airboat, it not the best for all rivers, is there a lot of wind on your river? How fast is the river and is there a lot of very sharp turns. Airboats do not make sharp turns going down stream unless you are under power.

  3. #3
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    I would rate the river speed as moderate. It is not even in the same category of some of those glacier fed rivers I've seen on the road system. Keep in mind, that my little 40/28 hp jet OB would easily plane four adults and limited gear and make it's way up and downstream, although at only 15-18mph.

    Wind can be a nuisance. One can rarely drift down the river and fish without being blown to the bank. I'd say for the most part 20 mph tops.

    As for turns, I have a friend with a full-size airboat and he had no trouble negotiating the channel, rocks and all.

  4. #4
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    Default I am curious about that as well

    Although most mechanized mobility involves noise , I think air boats are loudest, having a prop out of the water.
    Nothings to say one couldn't put an electric trolling motor on to manuver with under certain conditions, docking , fishing and such . I've seen some significant thrusters available.

  5. #5

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    I realize this post is a little old but I would like to help answer your questions if you are still searching for advice.
    Airboats for use in Alaska really need to be built for Alaska, most of your average airboats will not hold up to the extreme terrains one can face in Alaska. There are numerous things to consider. UHMW poly is important but I would also suggest Compression Molded Not extruded if you want it to last. As far as durability, there is no reason you shouldn't get 10+_ years of service out of your boat. Carrying capacity depends on the size of boat you have built. Most are setup for 4 to 6. We have built some that hold more than 20 people. Fuel Consumption also depends on a huge array of variables but our new fuel injected engines burn about 4 1/2 gph of regular 87 octane. As far as trusted manufacturers, you will have to do your homework on that one. I would have a Biased opionion. :-)
    If I can help answer any other airboat questions, please let me know.
    Thanks,
    Faron Floyd
    Vice President
    American Airboat Corp

  6. #6
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    Heres my littleIMG_0547.jpg boat, 14'11" x6' 180 lycoming. Its the little boat that could. I'm amazed every time I load this boat to go hunting. For a small boat it packs a load. moose hunt 2010 066.jpg8 to 9 gal per hour loaded heavy 33mph 2350 rpm cruz.with an IO-360 200hp @ same cruz 40+ mph. In the pic thers only 2 seats on normaly theres 3 tandom.I also have side seats to sit a total of five. I seen them set up with single up top ,double in the middle and a single in front and that works really well for 4.

    It a glass boat, the bottom is 14 layers the 1" closed cell foam and another 7 layers on top. The botton is exteamly tough and I do not run plastic. I do some minor patch work about every 3 years. But its easy. If you have any queations on history or what else these boats can do let me know.

  7. #7
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    A friend of mine went to OK to check these out, it was several years ago and they only offered smaller motors, he thought they were under powered. The fact that they quite simply will bolt onto most any hull is kinda interesting.

    I see they now offer some bigger motors and I think the variable pitch is rather unique.......................I am not a airboat guy, so really dont know much about them...............not that I wouldnt like to have one......

    http://www.okiegatorairboats.com/
    “Nothing worth doing is easy”
    TR

  8. #8
    Member f0zzy2's Avatar
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    That is a cool boat AHHunterz. Who makes it?

  9. #9

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    This is a 12ft boat we built for 2 people. It has a modified Briggs & Strat pushing 65 H.P.
    Faron Floyd
    Vice President
    American Airboat Corp
    airboatcapt2@aol.com
    409-920-0716 Cell
    1-800-241-6390 Office
    www.americanairboats.com
    "The Quality Remains long after the Price is Forgotten!

  10. #10

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    This is a 15ft boat with a 550H.P. engine that can go anywhere.

    Faron Floyd
    Vice President
    American Airboat Corp
    airboatcapt2@aol.com
    409-920-0716 Cell
    1-800-241-6390 Office
    www.americanairboats.com
    "The Quality Remains long after the Price is Forgotten!

  11. #11

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    Faron Floyd
    Vice President
    American Airboat Corp
    airboatcapt2@aol.com
    409-920-0716 Cell
    1-800-241-6390 Office
    www.americanairboats.com
    "The Quality Remains long after the Price is Forgotten!

  12. #12

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    This is a 14ft boat with a 500 H.P. Fuel Injected Engine.
    Faron Floyd
    Vice President
    American Airboat Corp
    airboatcapt2@aol.com
    409-920-0716 Cell
    1-800-241-6390 Office
    www.americanairboats.com
    "The Quality Remains long after the Price is Forgotten!

  13. #13
    Member skybust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Airboatcapt2 View Post
    This is a 12ft boat we built for 2 people. It has a modified Briggs & Strat pushing 65 H.P.
    What does something like that run price thanks and merry christmas Chris

  14. #14

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    Pretty sure it started around $15,000
    Faron Floyd
    Vice President
    American Airboat Corp
    airboatcapt2@aol.com
    409-920-0716 Cell
    1-800-241-6390 Office
    www.americanairboats.com
    "The Quality Remains long after the Price is Forgotten!

  15. #15
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    What size boat ,engine,prop,aprox load,and speed are you getting 4 1/2 gph out of?

    AK

    Quote Originally Posted by Airboatcapt2 View Post
    I realize this post is a little old but I would like to help answer your questions if you are still searching for advice.
    Airboats for use in Alaska really need to be built for Alaska, most of your average airboats will not hold up to the extreme terrains one can face in Alaska. There are numerous things to consider. UHMW poly is important but I would also suggest Compression Molded Not extruded if you want it to last. As far as durability, there is no reason you shouldn't get 10+_ years of service out of your boat. Carrying capacity depends on the size of boat you have built. Most are setup for 4 to 6. We have built some that hold more than 20 people. Fuel Consumption also depends on a huge array of variables but our new fuel injected engines burn about 4 1/2 gph of regular 87 octane. As far as trusted manufacturers, you will have to do your homework on that one. I would have a Biased opionion. :-)
    If I can help answer any other airboat questions, please let me know.
    Thanks,
    Faron Floyd
    Vice President
    American Airboat Corp

  16. #16
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    What size boat ,engine,prop,aprox load,and speed are you getting 4 1/2 gph out of?

    AK

    Quote Originally Posted by Airboatcapt2 View Post
    I realize this post is a little old but I would like to help answer your questions if you are still searching for advice.
    Airboats for use in Alaska really need to be built for Alaska, most of your average airboats will not hold up to the extreme terrains one can face in Alaska. There are numerous things to consider. UHMW poly is important but I would also suggest Compression Molded Not extruded if you want it to last. As far as durability, there is no reason you shouldn't get 10+_ years of service out of your boat. Carrying capacity depends on the size of boat you have built. Most are setup for 4 to 6. We have built some that hold more than 20 people. Fuel Consumption also depends on a huge array of variables but our new fuel injected engines burn about 4 1/2 gph of regular 87 octane. As far as trusted manufacturers, you will have to do your homework on that one. I would have a Biased opionion. :-)
    If I can help answer any other airboat questions, please let me know.
    Thanks,
    Faron Floyd
    Vice President
    American Airboat Corp

  17. #17
    Member JboeslAK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Airboatcapt2 View Post
    This is a 12ft boat we built for 2 people. It has a modified Briggs & Strat pushing 65 H.P.
    How does that boat work in White Water? Fast moving gray water rivers?

    Jason

  18. #18

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    We have two different set ups that can get 4 to 5 GPH.

    My personal boat is 19ft with a Fuel Injected L92 running regular pump gas. 550 H.P. and I average about 4 gallons per hour cruising. When I bowfish at a low idle i burn much less. The fuel savings is from the control program. It is night and day over the carburated 454's or 502 that we used to use. They needed 92 octane and could suck down 10 GPH easy.



    As far as using a mini in whitewater/grey water. I have no idea. I have no desire to find out. It's design would not be safe in a rough water condition. :-)
    River cruise, back water, mud flats, sand flats, all great. However, I would avoid rough water.
    Faron Floyd
    Vice President
    American Airboat Corp
    airboatcapt2@aol.com
    409-920-0716 Cell
    1-800-241-6390 Office
    www.americanairboats.com
    "The Quality Remains long after the Price is Forgotten!

  19. #19
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    Can you give me a little more info. Loaded/unloaded. People+gear. And your speed @4-5gph

    Thanks AK

  20. #20

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    I shot 5 different fishing tournaments last year with total of 3 people on Board my 19ft boat.
    Honda Generator, Ice Chest, 75 Gallons of Fuel, 5 Gal Can of Fuel for Generator, 4 55 Gallon drums as fish barrels Bows, and Gear, ect....

    We would fish a 12 hour tournament on less than 35 Gallons. Most of the actual fishing is done at a just above idle. Your on and off the throttle alot but under 3000 RPM's

    On the night before, we would do our scouting. Driving 3200 RPM's (Nice cruise around 30MPH) and would never burn more than 4 to 5 Gallons per Hour.
    Faron Floyd
    Vice President
    American Airboat Corp
    airboatcapt2@aol.com
    409-920-0716 Cell
    1-800-241-6390 Office
    www.americanairboats.com
    "The Quality Remains long after the Price is Forgotten!

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