The Hovercraft Code of Practice is now law! CoP24.

added by russ on December 9, 2015 at 12:08

Great news received from the MCA today. The Hovercraft Code of Practice is now formally adopted and has been given the catchy title of CoP23. To us it remains the 'hovercraft code.' You can download it from the MCA website HERE

This 100 page document has been prepared over three years between the British Hovercraft Company, Griffon Hoverwork, the Hovercraft Manufacturers Association, Lloyds, the MCA and other contributors such as The Hovercraft Museum and The Hovercraft Club of Great Britain.

It really does change everyhting, small hovercraft can now be coded for commercial operations using clear, industry lead standards and methods. The first part of the hovercraft code explains what catagories hovercraft go into for each role - be it commercial hovercraft, rescue hovercraft, recreational hovercraft craft or even racing and 'days out' stag and hen driving experiences! It's all in there and clarifies exactly how hovercraft operators can get their hovercraft coded for commercial operations.

So, after three years work, and dozens of meetings and hundreds of hours of work behind the scenes, today has seen all the hard work come good. It opens the way for small hovercraft to really show their potential and step up for intertidal work such as survey, crew transfer, sampling, security and anything else where fast, safe intertidal transport is required.

We do now provide this service - hovercraft hire - through our subsidiary Coastal Transit Services www.coastaltransit.services

If you have any questions on the code, please don't hesitate to contact us!

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-hovercraft-code-of-practice-cop-23

Hovercraft, The Recreational Craft Directive (RCD) & CE Marks

added by russ on November 3, 2015 at 10:25

We often get asked whether our hovercraft are 'CE' marked or not – the answer isn't quite straightforward, read on to find out.

Background

In the EU, marine vessels sold new by a manufacturer for recreational or pleasure purposes have to conform with Directive 94/25/EC, known as the Recreational Craft Directive, or RCD. This directive sets out the minimum technical and environmental standards for marine vehicles between 2.5m and 24m, ensuring they are 'suitable' for sale within the EU. The RCD was amended in 2003 by Directive 2003/44/EC which brought personal watercraft (ie Jet bikes/Jet skis) into the RCD. The directive also includes marine engines and some components. From January 2016, a new Directive, 2013/53/EU, replaces the current legislation but is basically the same and is aimed at reducing emissions.

 Exclusions

 Below is a list of vessels excluded from the RCD (taken from the RCD text.)

 craft intended solely for racing, including rowing racing boats and training rowing boats labelled as such by the manufacturer; or

 canoe and kayak, gondola or pedalo; or

 sailing surfboard; or

 powered surfboard or other similar powered craft

 original, and individual replica of a historical craft designed before 1950, built predominantly with the original materials and labelled as such by the manufacturer; or

 experimental craft, provided it is not subsequently placed on the Community market; or

 craft built for own use, provided it is not subsequently placed on the Community market during a period of five years; or

 craft specifically intended to be crewed and to carry passengers for commercial purposes, regardless of the number of passengers or

 submersible; or

 air cushion vehicle; or

 hydrofoil.

See it down there second from the bottom? Hovercraft are air-cushion vehicles (ACV.) So, in short – neither we, nor any other manufacturer can CE mark our hovercraft under the RCD, as ACV's are not eligible. Having checked the forthcoming legislation, we can confirm that they remain excluded from the new 2013/53/EU directive as well.

 Options

Two years back, BHC approached the European authorities and opened a dialogue aimed at either including ACV's or allowing us to voluntarily claim compliance and plate our craft accordingly. However, the ACV market is too small to interest Europe and we were refused. So, we looked into other directives, the only one of which seemed at all relevant was the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC. Again, following extensive discussions, the answer was a 'no.'

We lobbied the EU to include ACV's in the new legislation due to the growing market – but as stated above, ACV's remain excluded.

 So where does that leave us?

A number of boat builders have told us that we're lucky that we do not have to comply with the RCD and the inevitable administration that goes with it. However, our ambition for the hovercraft industry is such that we're looking at the big picture and the long term growth of both the industry and our own business. We've certainly lost a few sales over the years due to the fact we cannot claim compliance with the RCD, but generally this has been due to the misunderstanding that the craft should be compliant.

However, with very few exceptions, and in all the main areas of safety, our craft do comply with the standards of the RCD. The only area we may struggle is with the stipulated noise levels, marginal on the Snapper & Marlin but the Coastal-Pro is comfortably within limits.

So what's that CE plate I see on the dashboard then? 

Although – as established – we cannot claim compliance with the RCD, ACV's do still need to comply with the standards of the Electromagnetic Compatibility Directive 2004/108/EC. This directive basically confirms that a product sold within the EU is not causing excessive electromagnetic interference, nor is effected by the same. So, back in 2013, we put our craft through the necessary tests and compiled a conformance file. Following a meeting with Kent Trading Standards, we started to affix a compliance plate to all our craft.

Are BHC craft built to a standard? 

Of course! Back in 2012, we approached the MCA to introduce a set of standards for small hovercraft. Initially rebuffed, we eventually got our way, and together with Griffon Hoverwork of Southampton, we established a manufacturers association and got the MCA to the table to start work on the 'Hovercraft Code of Practice.' Three years, many hours, miles and meetings later and the code is due to be introduced anytime soon (it's currently going through public consultation) and sets out standards for small craft up to 24m in length. It's our fervent hope that the legislation will be adopted by other countries in due course.

All our craft are built to the standards of the HcoP and marked accordingly alongside the conformity statement for 2004/108/EC and this – in truth – is a more relevant build standard than the generic RCD could hope to provide. 

Conclusion

Hopefully, this document will explain what is possible, why hovercraft cannot be CE Marked, what standards BHC craft meet and what we've done to establish the build quality of our products.To the best of our knowledge, BHC manufacture the only hovercraft that conform to any formal standards - at least nobody else claims compliance with the HcoP or 2004/108/EC. We were the company that started the ball rolling to introduce the HcoP, we've discussed voluntary inclusion into the RCD , explored options and as such, we believe our products conform with all existing legislation and exceed the industry standards of the HcoP. 

If you need to know more, do please call us.

Sample Plate

 

 

Full Spec Formula Two Racing hovercraft for sale!

added by russ on October 12, 2015 at 06:51

So basically, I've realised tearing round a field at 70mph in a Formula 2 is a young mans game!

So - in a departure from the products normally offered by The British Hovercraft Company, I'm going to sell my F2 Cobra Racing Hovercraft to somebody younger, fitter and slightly more insane than me. It's an awesome bit of kit, built to race in national, european and world championship hovercraft meetings. However, that not to say that it can't be used as a 'toy' for simply belting round grassy fields and ponds/lakes. What it's *NOT* is suitable for cruising in an uncontrolled environment such as rivers/the sea or salt water. This is a 'freshwater special' - not a recreational craft like a Marlin etc.

Hovercraft racing is fast and furious - this F2 is capable of competing right at the front of the grid and is not for the feint-hearted! The Cobra is a proven and competitive craft which has won the European championship in the hands of Frank Craemers.

It was built from a new BHC hull and raced once in 2014 - it's a GRP hull, reinforced with Kevlar floor and Nidaplast core, very strong but lightweight.

Lift engine is a hugely expensive Simonini Mini 2 Evo paramotor engine (over £3k new) producing 20bhp at 5500rpm. Brand new when fitted to the previous craft in 2013, less than 20 hours from new.  Electric start and spares.
Thrust engine is a top spec 2009 Rotax 453, 440cc producing 110bhp. Removed from snowmobile last year and just one meeting since then. Very good condition, good compression, new gaskets fitted before install.
9 Bladed Multiwing direct drive lift fan
6 Bladed 5z thrust fan in 12 bladed hub.

Skirt is brand new with spares included.  Some spares included.
Comes HCGB registered with log book.

Needs a little work to finish. Steering needs hooking up, rad needs plumbing in and thrust engine will need final alignment. If I get time toi finish it off, price will go up accordingly, so grab a bargain!

Rediculously fast toy, all the right bits ready to compete at the front of the Formula 2 grid at UK, European events and in next years world championships. Alternatively, great toy for playing in a field/pond/lake! NOT for use at sea, or in any 'uncontrolled' environment - this is a bespoke race craft, not a marine vehicle. It is not salt-water ready!

For more details contact me on 01304 619820 or mail russ@britishhovercraft.com

 

 

 

 

 

Hovercraft Finance

added by russ on August 19, 2015 at 10:18

British Hovercraft Company - Play Day for friends and family!

added by russ on June 23, 2015 at 09:12

It's been a pretty mental few months now and at times, the order book has rather outstripped production! But the team working in production have risen to the task brilliantly - working, quickly and efficiently and putting extra hours in as required to make sure that customer orders have been completed on time - we're are genuinely grateful for their efforts.

As a bit of a thank you, we decided to throw another one of our 'play days' where we invite the familes and friends to come along for a drive in the safety of our demo track in Sandwich. Some vigourous work with the mower, rakes and water pump (to refill the bone dry pond!) gave us a useable track, Emma's new exhibition trailer (of which she is rediculously proud and excited!) was pressed into use as the corporate centre (we're not quite Red Bull Formula One yet!) and a huge BBQ thrown together from an empty acetone drum, base made from an old trailer chassis and off-cuts of hovercraft fan ducts providing the grill!

All in all, a quick and dirty bit or organisation which worked out just great. I was responsible for the weather (which was gorgeous) and we got really lucky when a stunt plane turned up and put a spectacular display on for the show in the next field over... result! Nobody died of food poisoning, dozens of people drove a hover for the first time and the kids and dogs were completely exhausted when we finished up around 6pm.

A great day, thanks so much to all our staff for their hard work, and friends and family for coming along and helping out.

Here's a few photographs from the day, mostly courtesy of my Auntie Brenda!

 

 Awesome show - Pitt Special?

 The peace and tranquility of an English summers day!

 

I taught a lot of people to drive... successfully too! :-)

Gary soaking the girls. 6 years old and they love it...2 years old and they hate it!

Your never too old to try it - right uncle?

Emma's trailer..next stop the vinyl wrap ready for some shows.

And you're never too young either - 10 year old Kai drove the Snapper like a boss! ("Daaaad? Can I race one next year....?")

Carbon Fibre Integrated Hovercraft....no, not really the answer!

added by russ on May 28, 2015 at 10:23

Unfortunately, the days of cross channel 300 ton monster hovercraft are behind us, killed off by many factors - unavailability of engine servicing, increased fuel costs and finally, the end of duty free.

Nowadays, the Russian Navy ZUBR, and the US Marine LCAC's operate the world's largest hovercraft. Here in the UK, the Hovertravel AP1-88 flies the flag for the largest craft in the UK.

Down at the ‘other end’ of the scale, our original single seat ‘Snapper’ of 1998 now has a larger sibling in the shape of the Coastal-Pro, a 3-4 seat commercial craft which has been selling well to people who need a practical, safe and effective hovercraft for such uses as transport on frozen rivers, through tidal estuaries and over mudflats.

The biggest difference between the Coastal-Pro and our earlier hovercraft (the Marlin, Snapper and Mark One Coastal-Pro) is that it uses a separate lift system, which is controlled independently from the thrust system. Our smaller hovercraft use just one engine to give both lift and thrust, a system which works really well on smaller hovercraft but is redundant by the time the craft gets to 3 seats/4m or so. The Coastal-Pro is the first of these twin-engined hovercraft from BHC, but larger ones will follow.

 

As a result the Coastal-Pro can lift over 300kgs from a dead-start on water, and carry considerably more on land or over water without needing to stop. The earlier craft without he separate lift engine displayed some shortcomings in this area, which is why the  new Coastal-Pro was born. Quite simply, larger hovercraft don’t work with a single engine and fan.

Interestingly, one company has recently released an integrated 5m hovercraft built from Carbon Fibre which they claim is capable of seating (variously!) seven to nine people or an astonishing half-tone payload – from a water start, this is a hovercraft’s biggest challenge. Of course, none of the videos actually show it doing so with 7 people on board (just big cardboard boxes in the back full of what I wonder? Air?) If you have a desire to never hear again, take a look at a video of it in action (WARNING : HEARING DAMAGE VERY LIKELY!) VIDEO

The whole design concept of a 7 seat integrated hovercraft is simply wrong. It’s a fundamental design flaw akin to building a 400bhp three wheel Ferrari or an aeroplane with one wing. This particular example is powered by a 120bhp turbocharged engine – huge complexity and noise levels fit to burst eardrums (this, from our analysis is around 96dbA at 25m, loud even for a racinghovercraft!) A carbon fibre hull is space rocket technology stuff, sure. But in hovercraft use, it’s brittle and shatters quite easily, a more useful design would be to back it up with Kevlar (something we and many others have learned from racing hovercraft over the years of competition) – on its own, it’s a poor choice.

The problems can be seen quite clearly on the promo videos, the integrated design means very poor hover height, the hovercraft never truly hovers which means the skirt is dragging and will wear out in no time. Worst case, poor hovering can mean it will catch the ground travelling sideways and stop dead or flip over…ouch!

You cannot simply ‘’scale up’ small hovercraft and expect them to work as well – there has to be limits, and this one’s been crossed - and here's the result.

Meanwhile...put your fingers in your ears, turn down the volume on your PC and and play THIS VIDEO!

Take a look at this photo - wow! No words needed!

 

 

The bottom line is that despite being a much smaller hovercraft, our Coastal-Pro (all 65bhp of it) will outperform this 5m, 120bhp offering. It’s around 1/3rd of the noise level, three times as economical, carries just as much payload, is easier to drive, more reliable (seriously – a turbocharger and extensive electronics in a saltwater environment???) – oh, and much prettier! :-)

All those years of R&D, racing, cruising, commercial work and using our own craft in every conceivable environment have given The british Hovercraft Company unmatched experience in the design and production of real, working hovercraft. No bull, no wild figures, no opinion – we’re proud to say our hovercraft perform exactly as promised in our literature and on this website

By all means, try out other hovercraft brands – then come along to us for a demo, we’ll be happy to see you and demonstrate the advantages of a clear design philosophy.

For demonstrations, please call us on 01304 619820

 

 

Demonstrations this weekend in Liverpool.

added by Emma on May 26, 2015 at 10:51

Venturing out of Kent, we're headed up for a play on the Mersey this weekend, a Hovercraft Club event, kindly hosted for the third year by the Liverpool Sailing Club  

Whilst we'll be off on a cruise or two, there will also be plenty of time to offer demonstrations to potential buyers - so do please get in touch if our 300 mile trip north makes things a little easier for you! You can email us : info@britishhovercraft.com or call 01304 619820

 

To show you exactly what it *wont* be like but hopefully to excite you to the idea - here's a photo of a Marlin taken ten years ago on a sunny beach in Melbourne, Australia. Smile

 

Yup, that really was a Marlin you saw on the 'Clarkson, Hammond & May Live' Show!

added by Emma on May 23, 2015 at 07:26

Jeremy Clarkson likes hovercraft. In fact, interviewing Rupert Grint on Top Gear in 2010, he stated 'Hovercraft are THE most fun you can have with an engine!' Coming from a man who's driven every car worth driving on the planet...that's quite an accolade! He's featured hovers on Top Gear at least four times, so when the BBC got in touch and asked us to provide a Marlin for Jeremy to drive on the (now infamous!) 'Hovervan' episode in 2013, we were delighted to agree. During the filming, Jeremy blasted round a grassy field and said some really nice things about our hovercraft, and we spent a couple of days at the filming their crazy antics in the Hovervan.  All in all, great fun!

So, we were pretty excited when Jeremy got back in touch and asked us to provide another hovercraft for the brand new 'Clarkson, Hammond & May' show which opened last night in Belfast. Since the 2013 show, we've released a new Marlin, and in accordance with the wishes of the show organisers, it got rather 'blinged up' with full on LED lighting. Not enough for Jeremy however, the fireworks you see in the photos were pyrotechnics actually launched from the craft as he drove on to the sound of 'Eye of The Tiger!'

Now THAT'S an entrance!

Jeremy is a champion for British engineering and manufacturing, and we owe him a big thank you for this exciting, high profile opportunity for us to demonstrate one of our UK manufactured hovercraft in front of thousands of petrol heads. Of course, we were up early this morning to grab every newspaper from the corner shop and three daily's have pictures of his grand entrance in our Marlin hovercraft.

We'd already planned a limited edition model to mark the occasion, in same colours as the CH&M hovercraft with upgraded engine, upholstery and a graphics kit....but after seeing the Daily Star's headline, we think we'll call it...

'The BEAST'

The Beast is priced at just £9,950.00+VAT - Call us for more details!

 

 

 

Medway & Swale Boating Association Meeting

added by russ on March 19, 2015 at 07:26

On behalf of the Hovercraft Club of Great Britain, together with two other active local hovercrafters, we attended the MSBA meeting at the Kent Boat & Ski club at Cuxton last night.

As usual, it was an interesting meeting and the MSBA provides a powerful voice for river users to address issues that effect them. With representatives in the room from Medway Council, the police, RYA and various clubs and organisations, it is also a great chance to find out about proposed developments, works and strategies. For instance, the Medway, and likely the Swale, are to become MCZ's (Marine Conservation Zones) which is always a concern as granting this staus is often the 'thin end of a wedge' which may prevent sensible dedging for instance (obviously not a concern for a hovercrafter, but I like boats too!) There's some rumours about powerboat racing returning to the Medway, and we'll put our names forward to be part of the Medway River Festival in July. Last time we buzzed round for the crowds, we were a bit of a hit!

The Hovercraft Club of Great Britain organises around 8-10 cruises on the Medway, Swale and Thames each year. There's a representation on the MSBA by another hovercraft club, but the local rep doesn'w own a hovercraft or organise any events - so our advice is to join the HCGB - the Hovercraft Club of Great Britain (Which celebrates its 50th anniversary next year!) and contact us here at BHC to find out what's coming up on 'our patch' down here in the South East. Lots coming up, just get in touch to join in the fun!

 

HCGB : www.hovercraft.org.uk MSBA : www.msba.org.uk

Coastal-Pro Hovercraft off to Finland

added by russ on February 10, 2015 at 11:13
Just finished loading the 6th Coastal-Pro off the production line. This striking red and white example is on its way to our Finnish dealer RAF HOVERCRAFT www.rafhovercraft.fi and will be exhibited at an emergency services show in a few weeks time. Further refinements to the electronics of the Rampage 50bhp engine meant that this one produced even more thrust than previous ones. In fact, fan data seems to suggest that 50bhp may be a rather modest claim so in future we shall descibe the power figure as 'adequate!' Noise levels are very low at 74dbA at cruising speed, it floats with enormous stability do to the width and weight and the tough GRP/Kevlar hull is built ot take the knocks and bumps of a tough commercial and rescue role. To find out more, contact either Kari at RAF Hovercraft our ourselves. www.rafhovercraft.fi www.britishhovercraft.com

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