As a hovercraft owner and operator, one of our responsibilities is to help with problems and to educate where necessary. Education is of utmost importance to help discourage, and eventually eliminate, the negative references made toward hovercraft.
Hovercraft are listed under the Coast Guard regulations in all 50 states. The regulations are vague to non-applicable, except for certain unofficial rules that are set forth by representatives of individual districts.
In Alaska, our only equipment requirement is to have on board a flashing light that emits 120 flashes a minute. That's it! The law does not require that we even have life vests aboard. Out of courtesy to other watercraft and a concern for passenger safety, we as owner/operators have unofficially adopted the small-boaters’ regulations, which include required life jackets, fire extinguishers, navigation lights, etc., as a guide for safe operation of hovercraft.
Filling out the legal registration papers for hovercraft in Alaska is very simple. Stick with the basics; it’s a boat, so we can treat it as such. Personal Water Craft (PWC) is another acronym not to be used. In Alaska it is referring to Jet skis or other similar craft, which are being banned like rain drops here. Click here to download the form, print it out, and follow the direction below;
- HIN number; homebuilt
- Boat description; insert “hovercraft” and answer questions below the line; I built the boat, or something similar, just keep it simple and remember don't ask for regulations for this, because there are none. If you do, you may stir up more stuff than you want to deal with!
- Take the finished form to the Alaska DMV or mail it, whichever is easiest for you.
Then click here to download the boat registration application for the State of Alaska and fill it out. Keep in mind you are a boat! If the engine can drip oil or gas onto the running surface then it is an outboard! An inboard will retain the contaminants! Mail it to the Alaska DMV, or take it down and stand in line and you will be rewarded with the USCG sticker and registration. Purchase the sticker numbers you have been assigned, put them in the appropriate places as instructed by the DMV, and have fun.
Next, go to the State of Alaska DMV boat registration site and brush up on the information. Then just for our concern and peace of mind download the state accident form and keep a copy of this on board for reference if anything should happen.
Registering a hovercraft is no more difficult than registering a boat. Pay your registration fee and place the sticker on your craft. One does not need a boat-launching permit, unless you use local harbor facilities. Get a courtesy sticker from the Coast Guard to show that you are a caring and confident pilot in your hovercraft; a lot more respect will come from this action, especially for those you are giving rides to. It is a confidence builder.
Please “do not use the acronym ATV,” or any other acronym, when referring to hovercraft. We jeopardize this industry as a whole. Air Cushion Vehicle (ACV), refers to hovercraft used by the general public, commercial, and industrial sector; Surface Effect Vehicle (SEV), has become the world standard acronym for military craft. Regulations are not set in stone in the United States so the acronyms seem to run wild with this unregulated or under educated entity. We are hearing more all the time that the various States are finding fault with hovercraft and are banning them in certain areas. This is probably due to the lack of education about their usefulness. Another major concern is the 2-cycle engine, which tends to be noisier than a 4-cycle and some potential owners say they will wait until the machine can be manufactured quieter.
"Exclusion of Warranty and Liability form" for the sale of a homebuilt hovercraft. Your welcome to copy and print this!
Hereby, I (name,buyer)_____________________________, acknowledge that the hovercraft with hull identification number (hull number if any and or registration number) is an experimental, one of it's kind homebuilt hovercraft. It's builder (owners name)____________________________ is no professional in either design, construction or maintenance of hovercrafts. No warranty or liability of any kind is assumed for the safety (active and passive), seaworthiness,suitability or compliance with regulations of this hovercraft.
It is the buyers sole responsibility to make sure that the hovercraft is safe, seaworthy and does not represent risks for the operator, passengers or bystanders.
Operating this craft is done at the sole risk and responsibility of the buyer. The hovercraft is sold as is.
Buyer acknowledges that it is his/her responsibility to pass this disclaimer to any subsequent buyer of this hovercraft and agrees to be held responsible in place of the builder in case this exclusion of liability is not transferred to a subsequent buyer.
Date____________, Owner/Seller Signature______________________________
Date____________, Buyers/Co-signer name______________________________
"Waiver and Release Form"
Should any of you want to do a hovercraft activity on private property or other, here is a form to follow to help you acquire that area, if the owner is willing to accept your Waiver and Release form.
Click here for the printable form.
Please see On Going projects, as there is much more to the legal matters concerning our goal to the education of hovercraft.
The Architectural Works, Copyright Protection Act of 1990: There has been a lot of talk about copying or making kits, and building hovercraft of similar designs. Be careful of Registrations and Copyrights, even if they don't show on the face of the documents. We were involved at one time with this issue and were protected by a common law right we were not aware of. We could have won the lawsuit hands down, but elected not to at the time. Here is a good reason for reading this new updated document as it has a common law effect to it also, "innocent infringement."
NPS Project: We have helped in the past with reestablishing Hovercraft in the Everglades National Park, Florida. On March 4th 2003, Eric reported that enough signatures had been acquired, so he would just need to put together the package and submit it. We are hoping for the best and waiting to see how things go! Thank you, Alaskans, for your support with signatures! Here is the website for viewing the petition and signatures for this venture.
I have seen mention of this on the SEVTALK.
We have been following the NPS Project as it correlates to some of our problems here. Alaskan Hovernoughts have a say in these proposed regulation changes. We would like to play a roll in this process, and will need your input for our Alaska Parks in relationship to hovercraft. Click here to read the regulation.
Jones Act: This is the United States regulation on foreign vessels, to include hovercraft and its use of flying passengers. There is more about this in other areas of my research to include waivers given for passengers in Alaska.
CIIMMS: Alaska's Cooperatively Implemented Information Management System, June 28, 1999, Planning Commission Minutes concerning the application for Hovertours in Kenai, Alaska.
United Kingdom Civil Hovercraft Registrations is the register of the commercial hovercraft built, and a history of them around the world. The AP-188‘s built in the United Kingdom that are operated in Alaska, are listed here.
98th Congress, 1st Session, H.R. 1372, To provide for the operation of certain foreign-built vessels in the coastwise trade of Alaska until November 6, 1988.
In the House of Representatives, February 10, 1988, Mr. Badham introduced this bill; which was referred to the Committee on Merchant marine and Fisheries.
More information will be posted later or if you are interested in it now, please contact Ken at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ARLIS: is our government library in Anchorage that has excellent information about hovercraft pertaining to Alaska. Not all of this information is easy to get, if you are interested email us for more information.
- Certificate of documentation for 14 former United States Army hovercraft [microform]: report of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation on S. 1046. Washington: U.S. G.P.O., 1996.
- United States Postal Service supplemental environmental assessment
- United States Postal Service hovercraft transport of Alaska bypass mail
- Extending coastwise privileges
- Temporary suspension of duty on hovercraft skirts
- Alaskan hovercraft: report (to accompany H.R. 1372) (including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office).
- Evaluation of hovercraft for dispersant application / DF Dickins Associates Ltd.
Legislative News: from the Passenger Vessel Association
ADMINISTRATIVE COASTWISE WAIVERS FOR SMALL PASSENGER VESSELS
The U.S. Maritime Administration (Marad) has a procedure for the owner of a small passenger vessel carrying 12 or fewer passengers for hire to obtain an administrative waiver of the coastwise laws.
The coastwise laws (such as the Jones Act and the Passenger Vessel Services Act), provide that a vessel cannot transport passengers between two U.S. ports unless it is U.S.-built, U.S.-owned, U.S.-flagged, and U.S.-manned. Traditionally, the only way to receive a waiver from any of the requirements of the coastwise laws has been to convince Congress to enact a special legislative exception for a particular vessel.
The Marad administrative coastwise waiver process was initially enacted as Title V of the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-383). Subsequently, Congress renewed the provision and amended it slightly in section 207(c) of the Maritime Policy Improvement Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-295)
The genesis of the administrative coastwise waiver provision was legislation introduced by Senator John McCain of Arizona, chairman of Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, the Senate panel that considers requests for legislative waivers to the coastwise laws. The small passenger vessel administrative coastwise waiver process is an effort to transfer some of the burden of considering certain waiver requests from the Congress to the executive branch.
The text of the most recent version of the statute is reproduced at the bottom of their document page. To review it, click here.
The Rules of the Road
Vessels Carrying Six (6) or Less Passengers: Un-inspected Passenger Carrying Vessels
Coast Guard Definitions NAVIGATION AND NAVIGABLE WATERS
Basic Boating Safety Course, Pick your State and get your certification here online.