Airboat Fast Facts


  • Airboats are also sometimes referred to as “fanboats.”
  • Airboats are propelled with either aircraft or automotive engines.
  • Automative engines are preferred for airboats, as automative gas is much less expensive than aviation gas.
  • Airboat hulls are made out of aluminum or fiberglass.
  • Airboat propellers can produce prop wash behind them of around 150mph.
  • Propellers must be enclosed within protective cages to prevent injury to riders and operators.
  • Operators of airboats must have extensive operational safety knowledge.
  • Airboats do not have brakes and cannot move in reverse.
  • Airboats are steered by passing forced air across vertical rudders.
  • Airboats have no operating parts below waterline.
  • Airboats have elevated seats for operators and passengers that allow for better views.
  • Modern airboats are equipped with mufflers to reduce the loud noise given off from engines and propellers.
  • The first airboat was built in Nova Scotia, Canada, in 1905 and was nicknamed the “Ugly Duckling.”
  • The first airboat registered in Florida was brought to the area in 1920.
  • The first commercial airboat in Florida appeared in the early 1930’s.
  • Many modern airboats are homemade and the few manufacturers that do exist tend to be small and family-operated.
  • Modern airboats are used for eco-tourism, fishing, hunting, and rescue.
  • During Hurricane Katrina, airboats were used to save thousands of New Orleans residents and flood victims.
  • Airboats are currently used by the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Military, and U.S. Special Forces.
  • Airboats are currently being used in Iraq for border patrol.

To experience the thrill and excitement of an Everglades airboat ride in person, visit Captain Mitch today. As a member of the original airboat tour family in Everglades City, Captain Mitch grew up on airboats and is truly the best and most experienced guide in the area.