Air boat rides in Florida is one of the most popular ecotourism attractions in the state. However, not many of us know many facts about air boats, such as how long they have been around, other practical uses like rescue, military and research.
Air boats are mainly used in shallow swampy type environments where typical outboard engines would be impractical. People use them for hunting, fishing, surveying etc. anytime you need to get to a location that another type of boat cannot reach.
The first air boat was made in 1905 in Nova Scotia Canada named the Ugly Duckling. An associate of the designer registered the first air boat in Florida in 1920. By the thirties homemade air boats began to show up in Florida. One local air boat company claims to have been giving air boat rides as an attraction since 1930. Through the years the design has changed frequently, the driver used to sit really high, to protect him from debris, now since the edition of the cage the safety level of air boats have drastically improved. The flat bottom look of the air boat coincides with the fact that there are no operating parts below the water line, which allows the air boat to ride in extremely shallow water or even dry land.
Recently, air boats have increased in popularity for public safety measures. During Hurricane Katrina air boats rescued over 3,000 patients from area hospitals in record time. Air boats have been used in Vietnam, border security in Iraq, and used by US Special Forces. Local governments also use air boats for ecological data and research.
So the next time you feel like air boat rides in Florida, check out Wild Florida on the shore of Cypress Lake for a great experience on one of the most unique watercraft available.