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  • Looking for an airboat or hovercraft

    I am looking for a used airboat or hovercraft for winter use. Does anyone know of a used one for sale or one coming off service from a Dept that is available?

  • #2
    www.levittownfire.com
    Matthew Pullen
    Firefighter
    Levittown Fire Company No.1
    www.levittownfire.com

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    • #3
      You want to look carefully before buying an airboat(we have one).To use one in/on ice you best be looking at a ruggedized hull either made of/or coated with polymer.Next check with your insurance carrier to see what it's gonna cost to insure IF your carrier will even insure it.Next,these lil' rascals are maintence intensive,especially when used on ice.Next are the training requirements,you DO NOT just get on these and go,it takes hundreds of hours to be able to be a GOOD operator in all the conditions you expect the boat to respond to.We have a 22' Yankee on a double axle trailer,I'm one of 6 dept certified operators for this craft.This is a good boat and has served us well.But we've literally had this boat down to the hull and overhauled every system at least twice.And we've only had it three years.It was bought used. Yankee airboat has been very good in working with us and we use this boat as a testing platform with them.Currently a GM 350 we anticipate repowering spring 07 with a modified GM 454.For what it's worth,to get a decent boat to do rescue work with plan to spend 15-25K and have a good repair line in place because you'll use it.These craft are very handy for rescue ops particularly in thin ice/thin water conditions.But they ARE NOT cheap to operate.Hovercrafts I can't help you with,it was under consideration but we got a "steal"on the Yankee.I personally think they build a fine product and can tell you I'm quite happy with ours. T.C.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Rescue101 View Post
        Next are the training requirements,you DO NOT just get on these and go
        True indeed. I know of a local department that has made a submarine out of their fanboat twice already. The gist of what I got is that one incident involved it slipping backwards off ice into water while trying to transition onto the ice, and it just filled up from the stern forward. I don't want to mention the department, as they're a class-A organization most of the time, and this was just one of those "aw, f#@$!" moments, IMO.
        --jay.

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        • #5
          We are currently useing an Rescue Alive sled on ice,and have had good luck with it, and its light enough that you can approch right up to some one on very thin ice. not sure how to approch a victim on a ice shelf with an air boat? last year one sank in our area drowning the patient that was on board,we also have a 17' Avon for open water.

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          • #6
            Yeah,we read the report on that tragedy.In MY opinion that boat's(the one that sank) a little too short for rescue work.Our Warden service has a 18' and after training with it,I still prefer the 22'.And if you notice,passengers in an airboat aren't strapped down.As I stated in my original post,these craft can be very versatile.But they can also be very dangerous.Around here,whenever possible,the boats(air)work in pairs.And usually have a rescue swimmer/or diver on board.Divers are always paired so most times you've got a swimmer.We use float boards(backboards)and they are NEVER strapped to the boat.Personally,I've never slipped off the ice backwards,get on the ice and fan around to get off.Front good,backwards BAD!People on a Ice shelf?Send the swimmer with a rope or power the bow within reach.Makes a difference on the ice and the person on/in it.How long,their state of mind,water temps,still or moving water,the usual water/swift water concerns.The rules don't really change just sometimes the "tools"do.We've been lucky to work closely with the Warden service,they've had Airboats longer than almost anyone else in the State and have experienced most of the bad situations that can happen with them.These are constantly brought out in our combined trainings.As a result,when it's time to go to work,we can intergrate into their system without a hitch.The Warden service is the agency having juridiction on a inland water search/rescues.We also have in our town and our MA towns,a well equipped dive team.The team goes,the boat goes.This is an oversimplification of the process,but maybe it will spark a thought or two. T.C.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by captaincvfd View Post
              last year one sank in our area drowning the patient that was on board.
              Any loss of life is tragic and something else is tragic is that the patient’s family is suing Yankee airboats for wrongful death and Yankee is closed till it is over if they lose it will not reopen they should not be suing Yankee there was nothing wrong with the boat I think they make the best airboats they can be repaired no matter what un like the fiberglass ones they get week from the vibration and the Canadian ones stern are to high and they block the draft and you lose performance and the draft gets pushed back to the front along the bottom its to bad they are great guys I sent them my support and hopefully enough guys will so they will reopen if you want to send them an e-mail with your support there e-mail is [email protected]

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              • #8
                Yankee is a real small company and regretfully I don't know if Harold(Harry)will ever recover,no matter what the outcome of the trial.There was a series of events in that tragedy,some predictable,some not.One difference from a regular boat to a Fan boat is you lose propulsion(at some point) in a regular boat when the bow goes under.Not so with a fan boat,they keep going until the motor goes under.It's a little late by that point. ANYONE with a fan boat is going to be affected by this tragedy one way or another.It's going to change the way the entire airboat industry does business,of that I'm quite sure. They are a valuable rescue tool when used correctly by well trained personnel. Ours has been instrumental in several successful rescues and a valuable dive platform for a few that were already past the rescue phase.The Yankee craft is a rugged platform that is easy to maintain,although if you use it you will spend time to maintain it. T.C.

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