Howdy,the noise level is one of the downsides of the airboat!Wind makes drifting a little tricky.They are good to ride to those hard to get to spots,Maintance can be simple or tuff depending on the powerplant.Good luck in whatever you decide on.
Being an airboat owner since 1993, I will say the relationship with airboats is one that is love/hate. Let's discuss the pros first...
PROS...Youâ€™re able to see fish that you would have never of seen. Airboats can run across just about any type of surface, grass, mud, dirt, some soft shell. Airboats have a hard time running over sand at slow speeds. Even at fast speeds, sand can slow down or even flip an airboat. Be careful, stay away from sand. Airboats eliminate just about any walking for duck hunters. Airboats are easy to work on.
CONS...Airboats are very noisy, use a ton of fuel, will sink in 3 seconds if large amounts of water comes over the bow or back in. (Never run an airboat in open bays) always stay close to the bank, and please always wear your life jacket when operating an airboat. One can hardly afford the insurance and good luck on finding insurance companies who will write your policy. Airboats require a ton of attention to detail. That is, you always have to repair or replace parts that rust or fail. If you stick or breakdown in very skinny water, only another airboat can pull you out.
My step son TJ Christensen was picking up decoys the last day of the season. The boat was stuck in deep mud due to winter tides falling over night. TJ had the engine RPM at 5600 RPM trying to walk the boat off the mud, all of a sudden both wooden props exploded. What happen next was almost fatal. The gear reduction, which is cast iron, came apart and shot small fragments throughout the entire boat. Just missing his head by inches.
This accident could have taken his life. Fortunately, no one was hurt, just TJ's pride.
are they easy to monouver? or do you have to take turns very rounded? but not nessicarly at high speeds, just normal cruisin speeds.. oh can you back up in them? might sound like a dumb question but I have never seen an air boat in reverse.....JJ
First, no reverse. Second, you should get with someone to give you a complete lesson on driving an airboat before you operate one. You actually use power in relation to the rudders to turn airboats. If you wish to take a lesson, call me.
My regular fishing buddy has an airboat that we have fished POC in for the past 15 yrs. Like the previous post said, it is a love hate relationship. My buddy is a fanatic on maintenence, but there always seems to be something breaking, broken, or not working exactly right. Coming into the dock is what he calls a "controled crash". Every other year for the past 15 yrs he says he is tired of constant problems and gonna get rid of it. Half of the boat is full of cage, motor and associated parts.
All that said, you cant stop anywhere, without someone coming over and asking questions and starting up a conversation about it. You get more "looks" going down the road than a Corvette with a couple of dancers in it. You can ALWAYS get into Pringle and back lakes. For whatever reason, airboats dont seem to scare redfish as much as an outboard. Often times, you can spook a school of RF and then shut down, wade over and start catching. VERY LOUD and obnoxious! All kinds of potential dangers when operating, and you WILL scare yourself a couple of times when learning to operate it! LOL Picture running a narrow back lake channel at 25 mph, rounding a corner and finding a dead end 30 feet in front of you! Picture wind getting under the hull and making it pretty darn squrrelly for a few secs. Picture unloading everything from it so the two of you can struggle for 30 minutes pushing it off sand to get back to water after finding that dead end channel.
All that said, they are just "Way Too Cool"! Now if we could just get that left bank of cylinders to start hitting......
I don't have any experience runnig an Air Boat, but I pulled one down the highway once......I had a '94 model Chevy with a 350. My top speed was about 60 and I burned over half a tank of gas between Fulgrums (Seadrift) and Victoria.