The Anatomy of an Airboat

Everglades airboat rideUnlike most boats, airboats glide flawlessly through shallow waters. These vessels, also known as fanboats, work particularly well in marshy areas like the Florida Everglades and Louisiana Bayous. This is due to their flat-bottom design combined an above-water aircraft propeller. Originally, airboats served as a primary mode of transportation throughout the Everglades, and now they’re commonly used for recreational activities like hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing.

In 1942, Barrel Head House built one of the first commercial airboats. From then on, Everglades visitors enjoyed skimming above the swamp’s surface. Tourists and locals alike enjoy airboat tours for the chance to sight alligators and other popular Everglades wildlife. Airboat rides quickly became a staple in Everglades ecotourism, and to this day they are of the most popular attractions in South Florida.

Airboat Elements

Constructing an airboat is an intricate process unlike an ordinary boat. Below are just some components of an airboat.

  • Engine: airboats call for an aircraft or automotive V8 engine ranging from 500 to 600+ horsepower.
  • Propeller: an aircraft propeller operates out-of-water to power an Everglades airboat.
  • Propeller cage: the propeller sits inside a metal cage, which protects the boat and its inhabitants from injury.
  • Rudder panels: steering airboats relies heavily on rudder panels, which help direct air.
  • Rudder stick: located on the airboat driver’s left side, the rudder stick directs the boat through the swamp.
  • Accelerator: the captain uses the accelerator to gain speed during airboat rides.

Take a tour with airboat originals

Did you know Captain Mitch’s Everglades Airboat Tours, based in Everglades City, is the oldest airboat tour provider in the Everglades? For generations, Captain Mitch and company have delivered safe, fun and family-friendly excursions throughout South Florida wilderness. To schedule your private Everglades ride, contact Captain Mitch’s Everglades Airboat Tours at 239-695-3377.