With close on 1000 Marlin hovercraft sold in the last 15 years, in its various guises, the Marlin has become the industry standard for recreational hovercraft.
Seats 2-3 people
Up to 40mph at 15mpg
Powered by Vanguard V-Twin engine
Industry leading noise levels
< 81dbA, 25m, full power
Very easy to drive
Single engine for lift and thrust
Once described as the love-child of a Jet-ski and a 4x4, the Marlin is equally at home on rivers, lakes or around the coast. It can access areas which no other vehicle can reach over land or water, or the mud-flats found between tides. Frozen lakes and rivers can be crossed in safety – hovercraft will work on any ‘sealed’ surface so there’s a playground near you!
The ‘standard’ by which all small personal hovercraft are measured, it has been developed with a racing pedigree, having won back-to-back championships in the HCGB’s Coastal Racing Championship. It’s aimed at first time owners, being easy and intuitive to drive but fast enough to provide big thrills and bigger grins!
The Marlin is built to the standards of the 2016 Maritime & Coastguard Agency ‘Hovercraft Code of Practice’ and is fully marine ready, built to operate in a salt-water environment. In fact, the Marlin is the only contemporary small hovercraft to have made multiple two-way crossings of the English Channel.
The entire hovercraft is built-in house at our factory in Kent, it’s fibreglass hull hand-laid by skilled fabricators. It uses an integrated system for lift and thrust, with just one engine and fan providing both, making for intuitive driving and a compact, maneuverable craft. It’s powered by a Vanguard 4-Stroke twin cylinder air cooled engine. Its great performance, low noise level and reliability is a product of these superb little motors. All metals are alloy or stainless steel to resist the harsh salt-water environment – and the wiring & seating fabrics likewise ready for the marine environment.
There are two models available and whichever model you choose, it offers very easy access to hovercraft ownership. Simple to drive with just a few minutes training, the Marlin is fast and almost unbelievably good fun! It flies 30cms above any sealed surface - for instance, mudflats, grass, ice, tarmac and water of any depth. Launch at high or low tide, cruise over sandbanks and water - there’s no beach out of reach! The joy it provides extends to a hassle-free ownership experience. The Vanguard V-Twin engine is a quiet and economical, electric start engine - it gives fantastic performance with outstanding reliability. The Marlin is fully ‘marine-ready’ with stainless steel and alloy used throughout, marine-spec wiring and padded upholstery. When the days events are concluded, the shiny GRP hull cleans up back to a perfect finish with no effort at all!
Have fun and make a good living from the most exciting toy you can have in your possession!
Which Model Suits You?
A basic Marlin two-seat hovercraft at a bargain price! The choice of commercial operators and some first-time owners, it’s built to our usual high-standard and marine-ready. The Marlin II is available in a limited range of colours and options, a ‘no frills’ version of this fantastic hovercraft.
Hull construction -Glass reinforced plastic (fibreglass) with Kevlar & aluminium protection.
Dry Weight - Approx 220kgs
Payload - Approx 175kgs/2-3 persons.
Seating - Padded seating for driver and passenger.
Steering - Handlebars with throttle control
Size - (LxWxH) - 3.1m x 1.85m x 1.4m
Engine - 35bhp Japanese-built air-cooled, V-Twin Vanguard, 4-Stroke with electric start
Max. revs - Static 3800rpm.
Flotation - Floats and starts on water, positively buoyant.
Noise - 78dbA (25m) at cruising speed, 81dbA Maximum.
Fuel / Capacity - 27 litres, unleaded pump fuel.
Range - Up to 160kms Max, depending on conditions/speed.
Max. speed - Up to 70km/h, depending on surface/wind/load
Cruising speed - 45km/h, depending on surface/wind/load
Skirt - Neoprene coated nylon in 76 replaceable segments
Fan - 6 PAG Blades : 920mm duct with straighteners & upstream guarding.
Battery & Charging - Sealed-for-life 12v, 150W charging circuit (max.)
Standard fittings - Passenger grab handles, towing eye, mooring cleats, yellow beacon, drain plugs, electric bilge pump in plenum chamber, hour meter.
Materials - Marine wiring and upholstery, Stainless/Alloy throughout.
Colour Choice - Limited. White hull with either blue or red trim.
Chosen by Jeremy Clarkson to open his ‘Live’ shows, the striking look of The Beast draws interest and excitement wherever it goes. Available in a wide range of colours, as standard, it includes many extras and upgrades including a redesigned ‘cyclops’ LED headlight and marine navigation lights, ‘T’ seating for up to three people, acrylic dash with instrument set, ‘aero-rudders’ and an upgraded high torque ‘Savage’ engine. Simply, the highest-spec, most exciting and desirable personal hovercraft on the market today!
As Marlin II above, with the following changes, additions & upgrades.
Dry Weight – Approx 230kgs
Payload - Approx 175kgs or 2/3 persons on additional ‘T’ seating.
Engine - Engine upgraded to 37bhp, hi-torque, spec.
Standard Fittings -LED ‘cyclops’ headlight, navigation lights with all-round-white, etched acrylic dashboard with switching, speedometer, tacho/hour meter, 12v charger port, non-slip rubber flooring, ‘aero rudders,’ upgraded upholstery, graphics set.
Colour Choice - Extensive range as standard. Red, Orange, Yellow (2 options,) Green, Blue (various,) Black, White. (we recommend white hull for hot climates.)
Options - GPS Plotter, metallic paint/vinyl wrap, chrome kit.
|Features||Marlin II||Marlin Beast|
|GRP Hull, reinforced with core materials & Kevlar||Yes||Yes|
|35bhp Vanguard Engine||Yes||No|
|37bhp Vanguard Engine||No||Yes|
|Padded marine fabric covered seating||Yes||Yes|
|‘Cyclops’ Headlight with Angel eyes||No||Yes|
|All round white light, plus navigation lights||No||Yes|
|Speedometer with heading compass||No||Yes|
|Wide range of colour choices||No||Yes|
|‘T’ Seat for extra space and passengers||No||Yes|
|Colour matched components||No||Yes|
|Upgraded ‘endplate’ rudders||No||Yes|
|12v charging plug||No||Yes|
|Acrylic dash panel with switching||No||Yes|
|Option to further personalize||No||Yes|
Further Info & Tech Specs
Below is a full breakdown of everything you might need to know about the Marlin.
The Marlin is powered by a ‘Big Block’ Vanguard 4 Stroke engine. This air-cooled 1000cc motor is air-cooled, so it’s very light and simple, It generates 35bhp at just 3800rpm, or 37bhp in the ‘Beast’ model, plenty for this two seat craft, and being a commercial-specification industrial engine, it achieves amazing reliability and a very frugal fuel consumption.
It comes with full workshop manual, and parts, servicing and expertise are available from any Briggs & Stratton dealer, of which there are hundreds around the world. This network and availability is extremely important for owners in remote or overseas locations. Servicing is simple enough for any competent mechanic to undertake, and we have several video guides for the more tricky jobs.
The Marlin drinks around one-and-a-half gallons (7 litres) of unleaded fuel each hour, so operating are very low. Being small capacity, and low revving, noise levels are very controlled, and being of low sound frequency, does not carry far.
The craft’s design is all about efficiency – low power but light weight means fuel economy, easy performance and low noise. It means components have an easy life, which aids reliability and longevity.
The Vanguard really is the perfect match for the Marlin!
Hull, Buoyancy & Skirt
Hull & Buoyancy
The Marlin is built in-house from a reinforced GRP (Fibreglass) hull. The GRP is backed up with Kevlar and core materials where necessary and is perfect for hovercraft manufacture. The colour is impregnated to a shiny, high-gloss gel-coat, not simply sprayed on. That shiny surface not only looks great, but also means that after a day enjoying a muddy foreshore, a filthy dirty craft can be brought back to pristine finish simply using a pressure washer and truck-wash – easy! One other advantage that we hope you’ll never need to benefit from, is that GRP is very mendable. Any impacts or accidents which damage the hull can be repaired – usually invisibly - and to a standard as good as new.
Inside the hull, the closed-cell buoyancy foam further backs up the integrity of the structure and provides flotation enough to maintain the craft and passengers even were the craft fully swamped.
Ready to fly, the Marlin weighs approximately 210-235kgs (460-520lbs) depending on specification so it’s easy to load and unload from the trailer on your own.
Hovering approx. 30cms (12ins) in the air on its ‘finger’ or segmented skirt, the Marlin flies with great ease. This efficiency means that just the skirt ‘tips’ are touching the ground and as a result of this almost frictionless seal, performance is improved and wear reduced. Skirt wear is something that first-time owners are often concerned about but in actual fact, is simply not an issue. Think of the skirt like the tyres on a car. How you drive it and the surface you use it on will effect how long it lasts. The Marlin skirt comprises 76 individual segments which has enormous advantages over a ‘bag/loop’ design used on large hovercraft. Any damage or excessive wear is localised, and quickly and easily repaired – it takes just a couple of minutes to change a segment. Being individual segments means the skirt works more effectively and can seal more fully on the land or water which gives the best possible lift and effortless performance. The chances are that you'll do whole days cruising without ever having to change a single segment. As a guideline, we usually find that most recreational customers using their hovercraft on a mix of land, sand, mud and water will get around two years wear from a skirt, and will use a dozen or so spares during that time. New skirt segments are around £9.00 each and can even be repaired if preferred.
Given the unique characteristics of hovercraft, there’s very rarely a straight to a straight question. Even perfectly reasonable questions such as ‘How fast does it go?’ or ‘How much will it carry?’ can be challenging to answer.
The figures given are very modest and we have exceeded all of them in testing. For instance, I once managed around 100km/h (60mph) in a Marlin II, driving on a frozen French lake (whilst dressed up as Santa Claus…it was a strange day!) which is something I have no desire to repeat! However, the same craft, fighting it’s way home two-up through choppy seas and a nasty headwind may well struggle to do 20mph. It’s the same with any small vessel – but the variation in hovercraft performance is more pronounced than a conventional boat and very effected by wind, sea conditions and load. Just as speed varies in such conditions, so of course does fuel economy – another hugely variable average! Take a look at the diagram below, which attempts to show the relationship between weight/surface and wind.
A Marlin will manage around 57km/h (35mph) on smooth water with a competent driver at the controls, into a gentle headwind. In poor conditions, as stated above – 35km/h (20mph) might be realistic, but this can only ever be a broad guideline. Suffice to say, the Marlin is fast enough to be enormous fun! In fair conditions, two-up, a Marlin cruises at around 40km/h (25mph) with great fuel efficiency and can lift around 200kgs (450lbs) on water. This modest claim of is because this is the hovercraft’s ability to get back ‘onto the plane’ should you stop on the water. On land, or when not needing to stop on the water, this limit can easily be exceeded.
Sea conditions are also difficult to recommend as again, load and wind have an equal effect but driver skill also has a major effect on how well the craft will cope with rough water. As a rule, we say that small hovercraft are pretty much as capable as a hard boat of the same size. However, in poor conditions, give me a RIB or SIB anytime!
Using your hovercraft
Using your hovercraft
Using your hovercraft, on private land, is entirely a matter for yourself and there’s no need to meet any restrictions on marine use.
As far as use in the marine environment is concerned, 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 of Great Britain (HCGB) 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, or your local dealer will, 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 Snapper in an 'uncontrolled' environment - estuaries, rivers etc.
Where can I use my hovercraft?
Very few of our owners have any issues using their hovercraft in a marine environment. Drive sensibly, with due respect to other water users and public, follow our code of practice, understand what you can and can’t do, where you can and can’t operate your hovercraft - and you should be safe in the knowledge you are breaking no laws.
Now – we’re not lawyers, let’s be clear about that. But the basis in law of our answer ‘anywhere you can use a boat’ can be simply broken down into a couple of points:
- In the UK, we have a Public Right of Navigation (PRN) using a vessel in tidal water.
- Hovercraft are vessels, just like boats (Jetski’s aren’t – legally speaking)
The PRN in tidal waters an uncontested right. For sure, no cases have been found which disputed the existence of a public right of navigation on tidal waters.For full details, take a look at our blog post -Hovercraft and your Public Right of Navigation.
Options & Extras
Marlin II Options
Hovercraft Cover, protection when stored.
Spares Kit (5 litres oil & filter, steering & throttle cable, blades, belt, 15 skirt segments, skirt clips and ties, ‘P’ clips)
Marlin Beast Options
Davit (lifting) points and/or extra tie down points.
Arctic (cold weather) kit
Coastal Kit (2x Buoyancy Aids, Flare kit, VHF, Fire Extinguisher)
Chrome Kit (Blades, hatches & cleats)
Interior deck lighting
Teak effect flooring
Spares Kit (5 litres oil & filter, steering & throttle cable, blades, belt, 15 skirt segments, skirt clips and ties, ‘P’ clips)
Marlin II Colours
White hull only, choose from either red, or blue, trim.
Marlin Beast Colours
Included within the price, the craft can comprise two colours from our selection of standard colours.
Primary 'hull' colour (hull & engine cover) and secondary 'trim' colour (duct cover, screen.) Alternatively, the craft can be in just one colour.
Choose from Red, Orange, Yellow (2 options,) Green, Blue (various,) Black, White. (we recommend white hull for hot climates.)
Optional colours include metallic/fluorescent and metalflake colours. Alternatively craft can be Vinyl wrapped into brand colours/camouflage etc.
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