Airboat Cost

The Cost of an Airboat

Last Updated on December 27, 2023
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Airboats are incredibly popular throughout the U.S.A. and across the world. They provide speed and flexibility for a broad range of activities, however, that flexibility comes at a considerable price.

Usually, a brand-new industrial airboat will cost from $32,000 for a basic entry-level airboat to as much as $420,000 for a full option one. Smaller sized airboats for personal usage are priced as low as $16,000. A second-hand airboat can normally be acquired for a cost between $5,000 and $40,000.

The fundamentals of an airboat

Airboats in general make use of the same distinct design and special engineering attributes first presented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1905 in Nova Scotia, Canada. The very unusual and unique style means that this kind of boat is still impressive more than a century after its creation.

Not to be mistaken for RIBs these flat bottomed vessels cut a striking shape on waterways due to the unique fan-like caged propeller in the back.

The flat bottom design and absence of any mechanical parts under the waterline show that these boats can go on very shallow waters and they can do it at high speed. These very simple boats can reach speeds of approximately 130MPH, surpassing speeds attained by other equivalently sized vessels.

They also provide a much smoother trip than a lot of other boats since an airboat slides on top of the water instead of slicing through it – like common types of boats.

The boat is driven by a strong fan that blasts air out the back, therefore moving the boat forward. The fan can be turned by the pilot, who is seated in front of it, for fantastic maneuverability in addition to speed.

Why purchasing an airboat is a fantastic opportunity

Airboats are an amazing choice if you are planning to navigate on shallow waters, marshes, bayous, or swamps. Airboats can pass through water that is just a couple of inches deep.

Loved by hunters and anglers, these vessels provide remarkable navigation through waterways where a boat with a rudder or propeller below the waterline would risk to be damaged by river banks, tree roots, rocks, and other particles or by the river or lake bed itself.

If you are from a location where the lakes and waterways freeze then you would significantly gain from owning one of these vessels as they will perform remarkably over ice.

Some factors to consider prior to buying an airboat

  • Airboats are not ideal for rough water conditions or the open sea due to stability problems created by their flat bottomed hull.
  • Airboat training is important to master the safe handling of this vessel. Most mishaps with this kind of boat are because of pilot errors.
  • Operator knowledge is vital as there are no breaks on an airboat unless you have a boat custom-made fitted with a stopping gadget or reversible propeller (not typically added on airboats).
  • Although caged, the fan is a danger and can injure people and will typically throw away shrapnel from branches or particles that touch the propellor while in usage.
  • Due to the shallow draft and flat-bottomed hull, airboats have an increased threat of capsizing. The shallow draft will mean that if such a boat is not managed or packed properly it will have severe stability problems (similar to the stability problems experienced by other flat bottom boat types).
  • Security equipment such as floatation items, life vests, and seat belts ought to be compulsory financial investments you will make for your airboat.

Is it a better idea to purchase a second-hand airboat or purchase a brand-new airboat?

When having to choose between a brand-new or pre-owned airboat it is well worth checking out the whole market to understand the options of boats available that are within your budget.

The very first thing to consider will be whether to get an old design airboat or go for a newer model.

Undoubtedly you will discover that your alternatives for boat size and customization/extras will be much higher if you avoid the “second-hand” path however there are numerous terrific brand-new airboat designs offered for anybody who is on even the tightest of budget plans.

Second-Hand Airboats

Purchasing a second-hand model is typically the first port of call for many river, swamp, and lake mariners particularly if it is their very first airboat purchase.

Purchasing second-hand when it’s your very first boat enables you to accustom yourself to this kind of vessel to see what you like and do not like in a boat without needing to invest a fortune or be tied-on a particular purchase for a longer-term.

Offers for a second-hand airboat:

More value

Naturally, the second-hand market is most likely to be more affordable than purchasing brand-new and you will enjoy much better worth for your dollars invested.

Did you read our articles about the cost of whitewater rafting, Walmart fishing license, and boat reupholstering?

Your purchase will come without the dealership’s cut and any unneeded extras you may be lumbered with when purchasing from a showroom.

Better purchasing alternatives

With a range of online forums, specific niche airboat sites, and boating groups in addition to categorized advertisements such as Craigslist and the Facebook Market it has actually never been easier to find a particular airboat make or design. You can likewise get your hands on designs that are no longer offered for purchase as brand-new.

Additionally, you will have a larger pool of boats to pick from in your budget plan as long as you want to make a compromise on age and condition to some extent.

Personalization and upgrades

When looking at second-hand models you will frequently encounter personalized boats.

A lot of sellers will have airboats that have been tailored and updated and these additions will seldom have much of an influence on the cost they are charging for the boat. So, you might wind up with a really good deal for a portion of the price it would cost to get a boat with the same specifications, as brand-new.

Lots of online and offline sellers

When it comes to second-hand airboats you will discover plenty of sellers along with second-hand alternatives readily available from airboat makers too.

Purchasing an airboat as brand-new

With the purchase of a brand-new airboat, you have the huge advantage of being the very first owner of a beautiful vessel.

In addition, purchasing a brand-new airboat will mean that your boat will be under service warranty, making repair work the duty of your dealership instead of purchasing second-hand, where you risk having to repair any possible damages by yourself.

Getting it new also provides the possibility to personalize your boat with the newest high-quality upgrades and extras directly from the maker and which are for that reason perfectly adaptable to your boat.

Lots of people also value the service and proficiency provided by a dealership in addition to the customer care we have come to expect while buying from a showroom. This will more than likely not be the case if you purchase a second-hand boat.

You can also enjoy the most u-to-date products and updated style when you purchase it new, though to be reasonable the design of the airboat has actually changed to an almost unnoticeable degree in the last couple of decades.

Cost range for brand-new airboats

Personalized AirboatWhether second-hand or first-hand, it seems that airboats are a considerable financial investment.

If an airboat is bought brand-new from a dealership the rate will depend upon the brand name, the materials, and add-ons, and the model specs of the airboat you want, along with whether you get of any upgrades or premium personalizations and bonuses.

Generally, the price of a brand-new industrial airboat will vary from $32,000 (such as a Diamondback) to as much as $420,000 (like a big 24 foot enclosed American Airboat Corp vessel).

Smaller sized airboats for personal usage can be purchased substantially cheaper as listed below.

Why are brand-new airboats so costly?

New airboats are costly since they are not mass-produced like Jon boats and their engines are larger and more costly to produce, not to point out the expense of the fan.

An airboat is a specific niche vessel that utilizes an automobile engine and full-size propeller for propulsion instead of a common, and more affordable, outboard engine.

Nearly all parts are handcrafted with a lot of man-hours being put into the manufacture. Outfitting and rigging a brand-new airboat can cost a lot, with finer details like the necessary Teflon or polymer pad on the bottom of the boat being pricier.

Airboats are frequently heavily personalized, therefore adding more money to the final price.

Known airboat makers like American Airboats or Diamondback, develop their vessels for military, police, and industrial customers that desire modification jobs so 2 boats are hardly ever the very same or hardly ever cost the same.

Airboat makers also make use of superior materials, and hence they end up costing more money. These materials include stainless-steel along with high-quality automobile engines from makers such as Chevy.

Costs for second-hand airboats

When purchasing second-hand you should be ready to pay much less for an airboat.

Second-hand airboat costs vary anywhere from $5,000 to $40,000+.

Acquiring your airboat as second-hand will definitely reduce expenses. The cost you will spend on a second-hand model will depend upon the condition of the boat and fan, however, the cost can typically be impacted simply by where you look.

The second-hand airboat market is large and varied. For this reason the vast difference in prices. If you look thoroughly and do your research you can get a great airboat at a low rate.

If guaranteed quality and an excellent service warranty are essential for you then an airboat maker will be your best source for a second-hand boat. Keep in mind though that even purchasing second-hand from a maker can be expensive. Some manufacturer-sold second-hand boats which are deeply personalized can go over the $100,000 mark.

What to search for when buying an airboat

The engine

Airboats will power their propeller with the help of an automobile engine from an automobile or truck or one that has actually been specially created for the boat, but one that has the exact same specifications as a vehicle engine.

Before getting ready to buy one, it is well worth thinking about which engine will offer the very best durability and performance for your vessel. It is very important to understand that some producers such as Chevy no longer offer a warranty if the engine is put on an airboat.

Hours and Mileage

The hours on the clock will offer a good idea of the level of usage a boat has actually had and whether the engine and propeller will require maintenance in the near future or not.

Clearly fewer hours typically imply less wear and tear on the engine. Nevertheless, like with other boat motors, and even engines in automobiles and trucks, a motor that has actually been well cared for will usually be a much better option than a younger type that has actually never been serviced.

Ask to see any maintenance documents the seller has and make sure to aesthetically examine the engine for indications of wear and tear or hidden damage.

Fabrication and fan

Although you ought to make sure you evaluate the condition of the engine prior to purchasing, you need to also think about other parts of the boat.

The propeller and other parts of the boat need to be examined also. This is specifically crucial when buying a self-built or customized model. A home-built airboat must have every part of it scrutinized.

Make sure to examine the base of the boat where Teflon or polymer is normally added to the underside of the hull. These locations are generally going to reveal the most damage to the vessel.

Think about the fabrication of your flat-bottomed airboat as it is vital to the continuous security and efficiency of your vessel. The construction material will also impact repair work expenses.

Are you buying a fiberglass airboat or aluminum-hull airboat – what is the condition of the hull?

Just how much will repair work cost based upon that specific material?


A well-known supplier will always make you take their vessel on the water, not just to see how the airboat will perform, but also to advise on the best handling of the boat and to guarantee you are appropriately trained to pilot it.

Alec Pow
0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *