Following is the text from the press release on this vessel:
DeJong & Lebet, Inc. - Naval Architects out of Jacksonville, Florida - and Air Gator, airboat manufacturers, Orlando, Florida, have teamed up to produce a truly unique United States Coast Guard certified passenger vessel. The 25’-lO" airboat RIVERWIND was recently delivered to Knik Glacier Tours, Palmer, Alaska. She conducts daily tours of the majestic Knik Glacier and Knik River.
DeJong & Lebet, Inc. has developed somewhat of a reputation for certifying unusual vessels over the past years. The 158’ topsail schooner CLIPPER CITY (149 passengers), the sternwheeler STARLITE PRINCESS (400 passengers) and "articulated towboat-barge" MAJESTIC (1,000 passengers) have all contributed to this reputation.
Air Gator has been building airboats for the past fifteen (15) years. In addition to the recreational market, their clients have included emergency rescue squads, the United States Army Corps of Engineers, state fish and game agencies, and Everglades passenger boat tours. They also have extensive international clients including airboats in Egypt, Nigeria and Sudan.
RIVERWIND is powered by a 454 cu.in. Chevrolet V-8 gasoline engine developing 425 HP at 5,000 RPM. The engine drives twin two-blade wooden aircraft propellers bolted together on the same shaft, through a 2:1 reduction gear, specially built for airboats by Airboat Drive Units, Inc. The engine is radiator cooled. Her top speed is 40 mph (loaded) and 50 mph (light).
The RIVERWIND is certified to carry sixteen (16) passengers and two (2) crew on protected waters by the United States Coast Guard. She is certified under Subchapter ¾ "Small Passenger Vessels Less Than 100 Gross Tons". Her cabin seats the sixteen (16) passengers in comfortable padded seats with safety belts. The cabin is radiator heated for passenger comfort.
The RIVERWIND is operated from the exposed pilots chair between the passenger cabin and the propulsion unit. Speed is controlled by an accelerator pedal and the twin rudders are controlled by a vertical tiller.
RIVERWIND is constructed entirely of 5086 marine grade aluminum. Her bottom is covered with a polymer wear plate, in order to prevent damage to the hull in extremely shallow water, wet lands, and dry land operation.
Principal Characteristics of the RIVERWIND are:
Beam 9’- 6"
Fuel Capacity 100 Gallons