The 2019 Marlin Beast

Full caffeine excitement with the world's best selling 2/3 Seat Sports Cruiser!

BHC's recreational range of hovercraft are sold under the well-established Flying Fish Hovercraft brand - the UK's leading manufacturer of small hovercraft who have supplied their recreational and light commercial craft around the world to private buyers, businesses and organisations. Whilst designed and built as a recreational craft, the pedigree of the Marlin contains a successful race heritage with numerous race wins and championships to their credit which make it a spirited and entertaining craft to drive.

During it's ten year development, several hundred have been sold making it one of the world's most prolific hovercraft.

With such astounding credentials, it's not surprising that the Flying Fish Marlin hovercraft is the only contemporary small hovercraft to have crossed the English Channel - and the only small hovercraft ever to have completed a return trip, a record set when two absolutely standard Mark I customer craft made the round trip in July 2008, taking under an hour each way. Just to prove it was no fluke, the feat was repeated in 2011 with a pair of Mark II's!

The 2019 Marlin is a turn-key hovercraft built to marine standards and has a sporting, modern and professional look and comes with a warranty on both the craft and engine for added peace of mind.

Choose from two models, all built to the same high standard, with different trim levels and designs.

Marlin II :

A basic entry-level Marlin available either fully built or as a self-built kit. All the basics are included, marine quality fabric padded upholsteray, stainless and alloy components, marine spec wiring, yellow beacon, bilge pump. Build quality, skirt design - everything we build is salt-water ready and the Marlin II is a superb entry-level hovercraft available in limited colours.

Marlin 'Beast' :

The 'Beast' brought enormous attention to the Marlin range when Jeremy Clarkson used it to open the 'Live' shows on his world tour. It's an upgraded and very pretty Marlin II, which is much more highly specified with a new design screen and LED lighting (navigation/beacon/white, headlight,)extra 'T' seating, wide range of colour choices, upgraded engine.

Vanguard 35 The Engine makes the difference!

All Marlins arepowered by 4 Stroke engines. BHC discontinued 2-stroke powered craft nearly ten years ago and became the first hovercraft manufacturer to use the Japanese built 'Big Block' Vanguard motor. The use of environmentally friendly, low emission 4-stroke power is becoming necessary in many sports previously dominated by 2-strokes - Microlighting and Snowmobiling being two obvious examples of how environmental pressure is changing the face of motorised sport, in fact two stroke engines are actually banned in many countries. Four stroke hovercraft are likely to welcomed at many more venues than 2-strokes, due to noise and pollution levels.

But environmental issues aside - two strokes are a poor choice for hovercraft use. Reliability in a salt water environment is poor making it - at best - a depressing choice of engine and -at worst- plain dangerous for maritime usage. Two strokes are also very noisy and consume vast quantities of fuel (and with petrol at £7.00 per gallon, this is increasingly important!)A well-sorted and protected four stroke engine can resist pretty huge quantities of water - take a look HERE to see what we mean!

At the turn of a key, this quiet 1000cc engine produces fabulous performance. Under normal operating conditions, it sips little more than a gallon of fuel an hour (approx 25mpg) With Hirth or Rotax two stroke engines, most hovercraft will consume around five gallons an hour - plus a pint of expensive two-stroke oil!

To put that into real money, in typical operating conditions.

  1. Two stroke powered craft - typical 4 hour cruise is approx. £156.00
  2. Marlin, fuel costs for a 4 hour cruise is approx. £35.00
It's also likely that a two stroke craft of comparable size will need to be refuelled a couple of times during a four hour cruise. So you may need to add a couple of jerrycans to your luggage!

The only advantage that two-stroke engines have is their excellent power-to-weight ratio. As a result, we sometimes, we get asked if the Marlin needs more power. Well,the simple answer is that the craft is faster, has better acceleration and can carry more load than many more powerful hovercraft of the same size. This is due to it's light weight, uncluttered fan and superior power-to-weight ratio. Hovercraft owe much to aircraft design - and quite simply, heavy hovercraft don't work properly! Take the challenge, try a Marlin out at one of our demo days and you'll be amazed at this 45mph rocket!

Still, if you want even more... simply specify the 50bhp Rampage engine in your Marlin III.... we promise you a thrilling ride!

Hull, Design & Buoyancy

The Marlin has always offered superb buoyancy and freeboard, which has improved even further on the Mark III. The attractive but strong GRP hull has been designed to reduce drag and lift at high speeds and the craft weighs a featherweight 210kgs all up. It's protected from minor bumps by an aluminium bar around the outside and the kevlar sandwich floor (the same material they make bullet proof vests from!) has four landing pads to further resist wear. All fittings used in construction are of marine quality - designed for use in a salt water environment, including the entire transmission system. It can be supplied on a one man easy-load trailer and can be unloaded and on it's way within a couple of minutes.

The Marlin range has undergone considerable development in the last couple of years. It hovers better than ever before, even in demanding sea conditions. The new floor of the Mark III also displaces more water, meaning it floats even better than before and contains more flotation foam.

It can start from a dead stop in water with absolutely no problem whatsoever (called 'Getting Over The Hump' in the world of hovercraft!) Within the hull is more than adequate foam buoyancy. This means the craft can be safely set down on water when loaded to its operating capacity. To illustrate this, on the Rhone Raid, craft need to float for up to an hour in 70ft deep commercial locks, something that these craft achieve with no problems whatsoever, year after year!


Seating is very comfortable with padded seating featuring marine upholstery and the drivers legs extended in front (no sitting on your knees!) Control is via simple handlebar steering with throttle control. Most people are driving it easily within 10 minutes! With the new 2016 rudder design, steering is precise and because of it's light weight and excellent thrust, much faster and more responsive than you'd expect.

Fan Assembly

The unique fan assembly is robust and well protected. It is CAD designed to be light and easily serviceable but is extremely strong. The 6 bladed fan gives phenomenal lift characteristics to allow the craft to operate over virtually any surface. All pulleys are stainless steel to resist salt-water corrosion and the drive belts are toothed HTD belts which will not slip when wet, unlike 'V' belts. Unlike a 'bag skirt' the Marlin's skirt is in 58 separate segments - so any damage is quickly and easily repaired. Being individual segments means the skirt can seal more effectively on the land or water, so the hovercraft hovers correctly in all conditions. The skirt and lift performance is so good that the craft has been tested with 8 segments missing, giving amazing 'return to base' capacity. The chances are that you'll do whole days cruising without ever having to change a skirt...but in the event of a segment needing replacement, it is a really quick and simple job to change.

The 2016 model has a CAD designed 'splitter plate' - a crucial part of the aerodynamic package which divides the air from the fan between thrust and lift. It's proved quieter and much more efficient than the previous model, providing increased performance.

Coastal Cruising, Maritime Usage & the BHC 'Coastal Kit'

In the UK at least, there is no legal requirement for a license or qualifications to drive either a boat or hovercraft. However, like any other boat, it's crucial you prepare properly for its use. Hovercraft aren't magic, and failure to respect the sea can land you in trouble, whatever you're driving. We advise joining the hovercraft club and - initially at least -, using your craft with others at organised events. We'll teach you how to drive your new craft as part of the 'handover' when you come to collect it, but if you have no maritime experience, we recommend gaining some basic boating qualifications from the RYA, Powerboat II for instance. Before using your craft in a maritime environment, you should equip yourself adequately with all necessary equipment, clothing and safety gear, register it and carefully check the weather and tidal charts before setting out. If you don;t have relevant safety equipment, consider adding in an optional but recommended 'Coastal Kit' which includes everything you need to use the Marlin in an 'uncontrolled' environment - estuaries, rivers etc. Includes two lifejackets, yellow beacon, navigation lights, flare kit, handheld VHF radio, bilge pump, fuel gauge, fire extinguisher.


'Beast' and Mark III Marlins can be specified with a variety of options. The primary colour includes the hull, screen and inner duct. The secondary colour includes the outer duct cover and graphics set. Colours and options are limited on the Marlin II, but other models have a wide range of colours, just ask for details.

Specification - Marlin BEAST

The Marlin Beast is a high specification hovercraft as standard - but can be further optioned for your own requirements.

Hull construction - Glass reinforced plastic (fibreglass) with core materials and Kevlar reinforcement.
Protection - Two landing strips and perimeter aluminium strip.
Fan protection - 2"/50mm guard to front of duct.
Dry Weight - Approx 460lbs/225kgs depending on spec.
Payload - Up to 550lbs/250kgs on land or when traveling over water without needing to stop. Maximum water start/hump capability is approx 170kgs-200kgs.
Seating - Padded seats in 'T' shape arrangement for two or three (smaller) people. Clip-in rear 'bench' seat can be removed to provide a small deck space.
Steering - Handlebars with lever-style throttle control.
Length - 10'9"/3.3m (off cushion) 12'3"/3.65m (on cushion)
Width - 6'0"/1.85m (on cushion) 7'6"/2.25m(on cushion)
Height 4'6"/1.4m (off cushion) 5'6"/1.7m (on cushion)
Engine - 'Hoverised' and upgraded Briggs & Stratton 'Vanguard' air-cooled, V-Twin 37bhp engine modified to Hi-Torque 'Savage' specification. Further upgrades available for the speed crazy!
Starting - Electric.
Max Revs - Static 3800rpm
Flotation - Floats and starts on water.
Buoyancy - Foam filled plenum, positively buoyant when swamped.
Noise - 78dbA (25m) at cruising speed. Maximum 81dbA at full power (loudest possible reading)
Fuel Capacity - 6 Gallons/27 litres in integral stainless steel tank.
Range - Approx 100miles/160kms, depending on conditions.
Maximum Speed - Approx 40mph/70km/h depending on surface/wind/load.
Cruising Speed - Approx 28mph/45km/h depending on surface/wind/load.
Skirt - Neoprene coated nylon in 58 replaceable segments.
Fan - 6 Blades, 940mm duct, 120m/s tip speed.
Flow straighteners - 7 concentric, give extra thrust & fan protection.
Lights Depending on specification, but all craft come with yellow beacon. LED Navigation, headlights and all-round white light as standard with deck lighting on some models.
Battery - 12v, 10 amp max charging system.
Standard Fittings - Passenger grab handles, towing eye, three mooring cleats.
Instruments - Engine mounted hour meter as standard. GPS Analogue display Speedo, COG Compass on Beast.
Water Ingress - Two drain plugs to void interior, bilge pump in plenum chamber.
Strengthened load points - Handles, tow eyes, cleats, frame, steering etc. Can be fitted with davit/lifting points.
Storage - Side pockets, under seat storage and rear seat removable (fitted to MkIII/Beast) to provide a small deck area.
Engine/Fan frame/Exhaust/transmission - Stainless steel.

Recommended Operating Conditions - Preferably no more than a WMO Sea State 3.
Telephone 01304 619820
Address British Hovercraft Company
Building 4
Sandwich Industrial Estate
CT13 9LU