There’s a surge of adrenaline that comes with speeding across the surface of the water, but an even stronger jolt hits you when that boat takes flight. Wait a sec—can boats really fly? Well, sort of. Here are seven boats that can get some air-time.
1. Cygnet Amphibious Trike – This bird-like boat can handle land as well as sea and air. With three “Tundra” tires, two welded-aluminum hulls, and a ceiling of about 10,000 feet, one could argue that the Cygnet is more of a plane than a boat. Or maybe it’s more of an ATV. But one thing’s for sure: this cool craft does fit the definition of a pontoon boat, and it does soar through the sky. Top-end is 65 MPH (in the air—don't try doing that in the water) and power is provided by a two-stroke Rotax engine.
2. Flyboard – While the Flyboard isn’t much of a boat in and of itself, it attaches to your PWC (yes, these do count as boats) and diverts the jet-drive’s thrust to blast you into the air. As a result, the riders look like they have the world’s largest Super Soakers attached to their feet. The most shocking thing about the Flyboard, however, is probably its relatively sane price-tag. For under $7,000 you can blast yourself above the water’s surface. You do, of course, also need to own a PWC.
3. Flying Fish – The Flying Fish is a hovercraft, and while these versatile vehicles count as boats, they can most certainly fly as well. True, they never get more than a foot or two into the sky, but riding on a cushion of air means they can slide, spin, and shoot along over the water’s surface at eye-watering speeds. Flying Fish offers several different size models, from the child-sized Pink Minnow to the three-seat Marlin II. Check out this and some other top recreational hovercraft picks in 5 Cool Hovercraft: Flying Boats for Fun.
4. PWCs (All of them) – Anyone who’s ever punched the throttle on a PWC knows that these tiny boats have monstrous amounts of power and can go airborne on a regular basis. In fact, while running the Sea Doo Spark, one of the most diminutive and inexpensive PWCs around, I managed to use boat wakes as ramps and shoot into the sky several times. Even large models, like the three-seat Yamaha WaveRunner FX SHO, have the muscle and agility to break free of the water and shoot for the stars.
5. Sea Breacher – This semi-submersible boat looks like a fish, but it packs 255 Rotax horsepower—which gives it the ability to dive five feet beneath the surface, then leap up to 16 feet into the air. Yes, flight-time is limited to just a second or two, but the thrill of blasting free above (or below) Terra Aqua can’t be beat. Plus, how cool is it to own a boat that looks and (sort of) acts like a real, live fish? So cool that it earned number one status on our list of the Top 10 Coolest Looking Boats Ever.
6. Seair Flying Boat – The Seair is one rowdy RIB, fitted with a 33.9’ wing and a 65 HP Rotax two-stroke. The boat part of the equation has a 5052 aluminum alloy hull surrounded by a triple-chamber Hypalon collar. Cruising speed is 45 MPH, and the price is only slightly north of $20,000. So if you can afford to buy just about any boat, you can afford to buy one that flies.
7. Quant 23 – Sure, the Quant 23 is attached to something that’s attached to the water. But considering that the hull of this sailboat remains securely elevated above the surface, we’re calling it airborne. Because of its aerial inclinations, the Quant can sail at speeds up to seven knots faster than the wind is blowing.
Do all of these craft fit the definition of a boat? Yes. Can all of them take to the air in one way or another? Absolutely. If flying and boating are both on your bucket list, any one of these seven will help you kill two birds with one stone—and no pilot's lessons are required.