Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Safe ice? You bet if you have an air boat!

Ask any of the experts-police and fire departments that deal with ice rescues-they'll all tell you that there is no such thing as safe ice.
But there is an exception and it doesn't have as thing to do with how cold it gets or even the thickness of the ice.
   It's the method to get on and off the ice that make the difference. By using an air boat. Originally designed as swamp buggies then used by waterfowl hunters. air boats are slowly gaining in popularity.
   Even some fire departments whose area includes water are utilizing them for rescue purposes. The reason they are looked upon favorably for this sort of thing is the aspect of safety.
   If you break through the ice, you float and keep right on going through any open water, then crawl back onto the ice and continue on your way. This is accomplished because these air boats actually begin with a boat for a base.
   The upper part usually is enclosed. Power is supplied by an engine mounted on the back utilizing an airplane prop for propulsion.
   Control is gained by use of a foot pedal throttle and large rudders mounted up near the engine that can be turned from side to side. While an airboat won't turn on a dime, it will spin within a circle about it's entire length.
   Riders stay high and dry along with being out of the wind. Still, it's a good idea to wear a PFD just for an added measure of safety.
   Want to be safe on the ice? Take an airboat ride!

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