Since you can run a Flying Fish hovercraft across the lake, bay, or river, I say it counts as a boat—and then some. You can also run it down the road, over sand bars, and through the neighbor’s yard. That makes it one kick-butt play-toy that’s worthy of your disposable income, even if you can’t use it for weekending, water skiing, or long-distance cruising.

flying fish hovercraft

Why plow through the water, when you could race over it in a Flying Fish Hovercraft?

Heck, even sailors should be interested in these things. After all, like a sailboat they depend on air to move. Except that instead of harnessing the wind with a sail, they make winds of their own with big six-blade fan and segmented skirts that direct blasts of air downwards for lift, and aft for propulsion. We came across the Flying Fish at the Southampton Boat Show, which is no surprise since these little wind machines are made in the UK. But you can get them right here in the good ‘ol US of A, courtesy of Hoverstream.

The Marlin II two/three seater model (starting at about $18,000) is designed around the Briggs & Stratton air-cooled V-twin horizontal-shaft Vanguard 35 four-stroke engine. Yes, you read that right—four-stroke. This is a major blessing and a significant step forward, because in the past most hovercrafts have depended on light two-strokes which were extremely loud and environmentally unsound. The switch to four-strokes is a welcome one. At cruise, sound levels are 75 db-A and at WOT, 83 db-A. As a point of reference, you’ll get sound levels in the same neighborhood or slightly higher when cruising in most open outboard-powered boats.

That little powerplant can push the Flying Fish up to speeds in the low 40’s, cruises in the upper 20’s and provides a range of about 100 miles. And although these craft are designed to run over the water instead of through it, they do float. The fiberglass “hulls” include a foam-filled plenum, and the company says the hovercraft will float even when swamped. After stopping on the water, the Flying Fish can “take off” in five seconds or less, unlike some other recreational hovercraft (which can’t break over the hump, and have to slosh their way back to shore).

minnow hovercraft

Watch the

" target="_blank">Hetty's First Go in Pink Minnow Hovercraft
video, to see the Minnow in action.