An airboat, also known as a fanboat, is a flat-bottomed vessel propelled by an aircraft-type propeller and powered by either an aircraft or automotive engine. They are commonly used for fishing, bow-fishing, hunting, and ecotourism.
Airboats are a very popular means of transportation in marshy and/or shallow areas where a standard inboard or outboard engine with a submerged propeller would be impractical, for example, in the Florida Everglades, parts of the Indian River Lagoon, the Kissimmee and St. Johns Rivers, as well as Louisiana bayous.
The characteristic flat-bottomed design of the airboat, in conjunction with the fact that there are no operating parts below the waterline, permit easy navigation through shallow swamps and marshes; in canals, rivers, and lakes; as well as on frozen lakes. This design also makes it ideal for flood and ice rescue operations.
The airboat is pushed forward by the propeller, which produces a rearward column of air behind it. The resulting prop wash averages 150 miles per hour (241 km/h). Steering is accomplished by diverting that column of air left or right as it passes across the rudders, which the pilot controls via a "stick" located on the operator's left side. Overall steering and control is a function of water current, wind, water depth, and propeller thrust.
Stopping and reversing direction are dependent upon good operator/pilot/driver skills since airboats do not have brakes. They are incapable of traveling in reverse, unless equipped with a reversible propeller. Some designs use a clam shell reversing device intended for braking or backing up very short distances but these systems are not commonly used.
The operator/pilot/driver, and passengers in most instances, are seated in elevated seats that allow visibility over swamp vegetation. High visibility lets the operator and passengers see floating objects, stumps and animals in the boat's path.
(Content is edited from Wikipedia)