added by russ
September 9, 2016
Copied here because many of the questions are fairly common ones!
All our craft use Briggs & Stratton Vanguard engines. Built in Japan by Daihatsu, they are low revving four-strokes, which means decent noise levels and very good economy. Snappers use around 4-5 litres of fuel an hour, Marlins maybe 6-7 (much less than a jet ski!) They use regular UK/US pump fuel, no need for anything special. Both will get around 2-4 hours from a fuel tank (12 litres on Snapper, and 25 on a Marlin) but of course it depends on conditions, payload, wind and the driver.
Maintenance is (in brief) as follows.
Pre-operation, check the craft over. Visually inspect skirt fix and wear, oil levels, fan condition, belt etc. Takes a couple of minutes per craft.
After a days operation in salt water, wash the craft off thoroughly with fresh water. Allow five minutes per craft.
If skirt needs maintenance, you can change each segment individually (approx. 58 on a Marlin/52 on a Snapper) and it takes just two minutes. The skirt – on water – will last a very long time, you’re likely to get well over a year from them. Sand/Mudflats/gravel obviously wear it faster but its top quality material and designed especially for us by a 'technical materials' company.
At 50 hours, change the oil, adjust tappet clearances, check fuel and air filters, replace if necessary.
How long do they last?
We have customers operating with over 600 hours on their engines, mechanically they are very robust (they are for plant/commercial use remember!) but you may replace ancillaries such as carburetors/coils etc in time. A whole new engine is only £1250.00UK so its not an expensive purchase if the worst happens. I’d certainly hope you got 5-10 years use from the craft, but of course, it depends largely how well they are looked after and the hours they clock up. We keep absolutely everything to build them (of course!) so there's nothing cannot be replaced, even the hulls which (to answer your next question) are built from GRP Fibreglass.
It's difficult to be too precise about but they are all okay in a ‘chop’ – you must remember they are only small – so whatever you may be comfortable in a small boat of the same size, the hovercraft will be okay too. It’s a common question, and you may find this interesting and useful. http://britishhovercraft.com/UploadedFiles/hovercraft%20performance%20and%20information.jpg Also our FAQ page - http://britishhovercraft.com/Buy-A-Hovercraft/Frequently-Asked-Questions.aspx
For your use I’d recommend the Marlin ‘Beast’ – it has lots of extras and has more 'kerb appeeal' than the Marlin II Freestyle. The Marlin III is the best of everything, but it costs more money and isn’t really necessary for your purposes.
Marlin II : £9,500.00 - No frills, all thrills hovering!
35bhp Briggs & Stratton Engine
Jockey Seat for two
Kevlar reinforced floor
Internal Buoyancy foam
Limited range of colours. White hull with either blue or red trim.
The Beast : £11,000.00 - As driven by Jeremy Clarkson!
As above but with the additions of
37bhp Hi-Torque 'Savage' engine.
Rear 'T' Seat - more seating for up to three people.
All-round LED white light and navigation lights.
Rubber non-slip flooring.
Improved endplate rudders.
GPS Speedo/heading compass.
Wide range of hull and secondary colours .
Marlin III : £12,500.00 - The ultimate yacht tender!
As 'The Beast' but with the following additions.
Upgraded, stiffer hull with integrated screen, revised splitter plate to reduce noise and add additional lift, larger receiver area to give improved plenum flow characteristics.
Lots more answers to many more question on our website!