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What's the difference between airboat rides and hovercraft?

To the naked eye, an airboat and a hovercraft look very similar. Despite their appearance, both work in unique ways to do various tasks. But have you ever wondered about the differences between airboats and hovercraft? On this blog, we go over some of the key differences between airboats and hovercraft.

airboats and hovercraft

Similar to airboats, hovercraft are amphibious, which means they can travel and transition more easily over different terrains including water, mud, ice and dry surfaces. Unlike airboats, hovercraft tend to sit on the water, not in the water. The cushion of air that the hovercraft sits on makes it ideal for rescue operations as it doesn’t create a wake in the water. Because of the air cushions, hovercraft come in handy with transporting heavy loads over difficult terrains, such as swamps. However, between Florida airboat rides and hovercraft rides, the large propellers on an airboat make it easier for the carriers to push through vegetation in swamps, something that is difficult for hovercraft.

Related blog: How a Florida airboat ride will impress your city friends

airboat rides in Florida


Another difference to point out between airboats and hovercraft is their primary function. While airboat rides in Florida can be used for rescue operations, their primary use is more for recreational activity. Hovercraft, on the other hand, have a multitude of other functions. Across the pond, hovercraft are used as a transport system, on rescue missions, and even for military operations and training. 


Airboats tend to be easier to maintain because many of them have standard automobile motors and don't require as much maintenance as hovercraft. While the air cushions under hovercraft make them lighter, it also makes them more fragile and more difficult to repair than airboats. As the air cushions are made of fabric, the cushions are prone to ripping and have to be replaced or repaired more regularly than any part you'd find on an airboat.  For example, in the swamp, airboats have the advantage of safely maneuvering through thick vegetation with ease and without worry of damage.


While both hovercraft and airboat tours in Florida might be exciting, hovercraft tours are hard to find for recreational use because the cost to maintain them is much higher than that of an airboat. So, if you're looking to experience a Florida airboat tour this summer, why not join us out on Lake Cypress? Climb aboard with one of our experienced, U.S. Coast Guard licensed captains, and explore a side of Florida you didn't know still existed. Besides, from now through the end of 2017, we're offering everyone FREE admission to our Gator and Wildlife Park. Not sure what you think, but that sounds like a wild plan to us! Hope to see you soon!

Book your adventure at Wild Florida

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