Businesses, Charities & Rescue Organisations - book your demo on the "Why Not a Hovercraft?" Tour!

added by emma on February 11, 2016 at 12:55

Used Coastal-Pro hovercraft for sale - be quick and save over £5,000 on new price - rare opportunity.

added by emma on February 4, 2016 at 09:49

Buying a Hovercraft - Our 'Top-Ten' tips to avoid a costly mistake!

added by russ on February 3, 2016 at 11:15

Our Top Ten Tips for hovercraft buyers!

AND HOW TO AVOID THE RIPOFF MERCHANTS!

1.If you don’t know anything about them, do your research into hovercraft in general. Be sure about what they should be able to do, whether a hovercraft is what you want, how they work and join your local club. Hovercrafting is still a small (but growing) community and you can gather some very useful information and feedback.

2.Do not pay for a hovercraft if you can’t actually see a real one exists – especially do NOT pay a deposit on a hovercraft which is only available in CGI form!

3  Is the supplier a member of the HMA? Hovercraft Club? Chamber of Commerce? BMI?

4.See it in action, preferably drive it, and ask to see its capabilities – as described – demonstrated. Drive more than one model before making any decisions.

5.Ask to see videos of other – identical - craft in varied conditions (water, land, mud, one up/two up etc) and look online on Youtube specifically for the make you’re considering  – do you have plenty of confidence that WYSIWYG?

6.Does it come with a service manual, warranty, training and registration?

7.Does the manufacturer offer a Money Back Guarantee if the product doesn’t measure up to the  sales hype?

8.Does the manufacturer have agents and dealers? This is a good sign that they are established and serious.

9.Can you obtain references from dealers/customers?

10. Ask to see photos of the build as it happens, or visit the factory. Small hovercraft should be easily completed within 4-6 weeks – any longer should make you nervous if there's not a good reason!

Good luck with your purchase – just be careful with your money!

John Sturgeon, the moose-hunting hovercraft pilot - and UK Law!

added by russ on January 20, 2016 at 10:22

Over in America, specifically Alaska, a chap by the name of John Sturgeon is currently in the Supreme Court standing up for his right to use a small hovercraft to hunt moose in a national park. Back in 2007, John’s noisy old-fashioned and unreliable 1991 ‘Scat’ hovercraft broke down on his way to a moose hunting expedition. He was accosted by park rangers who told him he could not use his hovercraft in the national park and eventually had to remove it on a boat as, even when mended the Park Rangers would not allow him to drive the hovercraft out again! They were, according to John “real jerks!” But, it turned out they'd picked on the wrong man! To cut a long story short John has taken his case all the way to the Supreme Court. Now, whilst not pretending to understand American law it appears that John's case centres around federal law attempting to overrule state law and his right to navigate on rivers in national parks.

You can read more HERE

 

I'm watching this case with considerable interest and it would appear it has far-reaching consequences for hovercraft use in America. Here in the UK, over the years, there's been a few odd occasions where overzealous wardens have tried to prevent hovercraft owners exercising their right of navigation on tidal waters. This is usually done by stating that hovercraft cannot be used in the many environmentally protected areas around the coastline of the UK. In fact, pretty much every inch of UK coastline now has some type of environmental protection. Choose from SSSI, RAMSAR, SPA, AONB, LNR,NNR,MNR… To name but a few! The situation is confused further by the inevitable fact that there are protected areas designated by the EU present in the UK as well!

Of course protecting the environment is extremely important and in my experience the type of people who operate small hovercraft for recreational and pleasure purposes are not the type of people who set out to cause problems act irresponsibly or cause distress to animals, plants or Park Rangers. Occasionally however, you meet the type of warden who would prevent anybody from doing anything within "his area" and goes well beyond his given powers in trying to prevent anything he may perceive as threatening unwelcome or illegal. The most commonly cited reason for an objection to a hovercraft is that it may disturb birds feeding on the waterline. This is easily countered by observing an ‘offset’ of 100 m, something which we advise all our owners to do. But you can no more blame a hovercraft for scaring birds then you can blame a car for exceeding 70 miles an hour. Like all these things common sense needs to be applied on both sides.

Just to re-cap, hovercraft do not poison the water with exhaust fumes like boats do. They have no propeller water which means animal strikes are impossible and there is no underwater disturbance to damage the seabed or plant life. At anything over 8 knots, there is no wash meaning riverbanks are not washed away. They use a fraction of the amount of fuel of an equivalent sized boat which must be a good thing for both the owner and the environment! There’s no powered marine vessel which is more environmentally sound. Why then do they get such a bad rap? I believe it is because some hovercraft were/are noisy and this is a very obvious downside compared to the discrete poisoning of the water which boats are guilty of. Our own craft have slow fans, good exhausts, low powered engines and clever engineering which keeps noise down to very acceptable levels but to some their preconceptions will not be overcome.

Confronted by an intransigent council, warden or Harbour Master is there any defence? Well yes! Fortunately, getting on for 1000 years ago, King John signed the Magna Carta. This granted us all a right of navigation on tidal waters around the UK which persists today. You cannot use a bylaw to remove a common law right which brings us neatly onto Langstone Harbour which has a bylaw preventing the operation of hydrofoils, jet skis, skiing, seaplanes and hovercraft amongst other things. I often wonder if I should visit Langstone Harbour by hovercraft observing the speed limit and sticking to the Channel to see what would happen, as the Harbour Master has certainly prevented operation of hovercraft previously. This would make for a very interesting test case with the same far-reaching consequences that John Sturgeon’s case in the US may have across the pond. Whilst advocating responsible operation of hovercraft, and being somebody who would much rather avoid feeding the lawyers, in this case it is clear the Harbour Master has no intention of seeing reason. To prevent this type of behaviour in other locations it may be that some “direct action” may be required to prevent other authorities acting in a manner which they are unaware is illegal and beyond they given powers

However, we have never heard of any incidents where hovercraft have damaged the environment, owners have been charged or prosecuted or operators refused the right to launch (other than good old Langstone Harbour of course!) But sometimes a little education is necessary. Given the increasing numbers of small hovercraft regularly used every weekend throughout the country this is a testament to the responsible behaviour and low noise levels of modern hovercraft. One of the things I love about hovercraft is that they aren’t well-known or understood by the many and I enjoy educating people who go on to become lifelong hovercraft enthusiasts. However, I will fight to the very end to protect our rights and as I said above it would be better if situations such as that in the US were avoided. We work towards the day when there is  was an acceptance that hovercraft do not represent any type of a threat to the environment through which they travel.

 In the meantime good luck John, stick it to ‘em on behalf of the little guy!

HCGB - 50th Anniversary Crusing Festival July 2016

added by russ on January 11, 2016 at 07:23

This summer, from the 16th to the 25th of July, the Hovercraft Club pf Great Britain will be celebrating it's 50th anniversary with a program of cruising events held on the Swale and the Rivers Medway and Thames. Based at the Chatham Historic Dockyard, the event will start with simple local trips and get more challenging over the week culminating in a cruise through central London!

The plan is to make best use of the different times of the tides each day but will need some flexibilty depending on the weather and what attendees want to do. The theme of our 50th Anniversary is to celebrate many of the different things the HCGB has done over the years. Way back in 1974 there was a cruising week on the shores of Loch Lubnaig in Scotland. In the 1970s there was racing and cruising many times on the River Thames in Central London. The tidal estuary of the River Medway has been a regular weekend cruising outing since the 1980s and today hovercraft continue to explore it most weekends. You can drop in and out as much as you like over the course of the event and charges are minimal, simply to cover site fees.

There's a website now up with a provisional program - click HERE to visit the page, and by all means contact us here at The British Hovercraft Company as we're helping out with the organisation of some parts of the event. http://www.whc2016.com

My cruise through central London in a Marlin video HERE

Hovercraft must meet some minimum standards for the event such as buoyancy, noise and safety.

Hope to see you there!

 

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....?")


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