The reasons for the Platte being rarely used as transport and recreational hub is due to the fact that the river is muddy, broad and shallow, and for much of its meandering route it is swampy and is dotted with many islands. Apparently, the Platte River can be so difficult to negotiate that even canoeists give it something of a wide berth.
The river’s characteristics, whilst making it difficult to operate common river vessels, also make it attractive to a breed of adventurers who also thrive in Florida’s Everglades; the airboaters.
Airboats are those flat-bottomed vessels that have a huge propeller erected at the rear, which allow the boats to skim across water and flat land. The propellers are powered by large engines, occasionally even by aircraft engines, which allow them to have both speed and flexibility.
One major problem with airboats is that they are generally loud, in much the same way as a helicopter is load, because the size of the engine is determined by the size of the boat, the more weight that needs pushing, the larger and noisier is the motor.
Speed, noise and the ability to go practically anywhere on the Platte, certainly to places where other vessels can’t go, combined with an airboat’s ability to make sharp, heart-stopping turns, means they are thrilling to ride.
Owner Tim Bryson started out as an airboat enthusiast, and from the humble start of taking visitors out for charitable purposes has grown to turn his passion into a thriving business.
His airboat has a length of 21 feet and is nine and a half feet wide. It seats 12 including the driver, and it has a motor that pushes out over 700 horse power enabling the boat to reach speeds of 60 mile per hour, which is an amazing speed at which to travel over water.
It may be a loud trip out to where you are going, but once there the engines can be switched off and you can enjoy the wildlife in perfect peace and quiet. Whilst nothing is guaranteed, it is common to see bald eagles, deer, otter and beavers going about their business.
If you thought that airboats only operate in Florida, the Platte River has an entirely different environment to enjoy, with the wind at your face, and the sheer thrill of zapping across the water at speed whilst pulling hard turns.