Ice Fishing Hovercraft
Ice Fishing Hovercraft – Ice fishing is very popular, but each year people fall through the ice, suffer from hypothermia and drown.
A popular mode of transport is the snow mobile, but these don’t float very well when the ice gets thin. Jet Skis don’t work so well on ice – is there a vehicle that can travel over ice and float on water should the ice give way? Yes, Hovercraft, but be careful what you choose.
How to get onto and over the ice?
Hovercraft can fly over any flat surface, so over snow, ice and water, so combining a snow mobile and Jet Ski into one all-terrain vehicle. Typical hover height is 8 inches above the surface, top speed around 40 mph.
Choosing a hovercraft suitable for ice fishing
Most hovercraft are made from thin glass fibre which can easily crack on impact with ice. The Hov Pod hovercraft hull is unique, the only hovercraft available made from High Density Polyethylene (HDPE). This material is also extremely buoyant, you could probably use HDPE to make fishing floats. HDPE is also very durable, and can be easily repaired through heat welding.
Another consideration when choosing hovercraft is skirt material – ice can rip thinner skirts to shreds. Some suppliers offer Hypalon, but we found this rips too easily, or neoprene coated nylon, but this material degrades when exposed to sunlight (UV) and also rips too easily. Some suppliers offer segmented skirts, some hovercraft have a one piece bag skirt – the segmented skirt minimises the cost of repair, since an individual segment can be changed in one minute – a bag skirt is difficult and expensive to replace if damage occurs. The Hov Pod is supplied with Polyurethane coated anti-rip nylon weave, which has an average life expectancy of many years. The Hov Pod has 65 different skirt sections so if one gets trashed, it is easy and inexpensive to change the damaged section.
It is important to choose an engine that is reliable and able to pick up the weight of the passengers should you need to start from an on-water position, let me explain. Some hovercraft suppliers modify cheaper engines to get more power output, but the engine manufacturers don’t like their engines being modified, (running in high stress mode) so a modified engine is usually supplied with no engine supplier warranty.
On-water starting payload – Hump
The next consideration is crucial to get right, your life might depend on it. Hovercraft can lift 50% more weight when starting from a firm surface such as land or ice. However, if the hovercraft starts from an on-water start (worst case scenario, the ice breaks) hovercraft then generate a pressure wave known as The Hump, and in this situation will carry 50% less weight than could be carried when starting on ice. Always check for the on-water payload capability, which will depend on the power of the engine – smaller cheaper engines may lack the power to get started from an on-water situation. Some suppliers fudge on-water payload – never ask how many seats does the hovercraft have, this marks you out as a complete muppet, check weight payload on water.
Want to try driving a Hov Pod? Contact us for details of your nearest representative.