Airboat Safety - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Airboat Safety

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We all hope to have the right tools for our jobs.

If you are a Fish and Wildlife Service employee that might mean, an airboat.

Bonnie Campo takes us for a ride on the water to get a better idea of what these brave souls have dedicated their lives to.

The sun was shining, birds we're singing, and then you hear this.

(Duane Anderson, Biological Technician Fish and Wildlife Service) "We have had three days of motorboat training where the students and employees are taught to not only, how to take care of a boat, how to drive a boat, lot's of boat maintenance and different issues like that."

Those training need to be able to operate an airboat in shallow waters because many of the places they patrol, like the Upper Souris, have areas with only 2 inches of water to drive through. This training also helps in emergency situations.

(Duane Anderson, Biological Technician Fish and Wildlife Service) "Fish and Wildlife Service has got involved in floods: the Fargo flood, the Bismarck flood, the Minot flood."

They have classroom time, but to operate an airboat each trainee must put in 40 hours of steering-time before they are deemed ready.

(Krista Lundgren, Fish and Wildlife Service Boat Trainee) "Right now we we're doing the practical applications, so we are actually getting out on the water, and we are running a few courses so that we can get a feel of how they go, turning. You have to be very carefully with these because you can easy swamp the boat if you slow down to fast."

If you can't tell, it's also pretty fun. I even had to capture a few seconds of video from my Iphone. It's like a roller coaster that requires eye and ear protection.

(Krista Lundgren, Fish and Wildlife Service Boat Trainee) "Well, we're talking it's either an airplane or a car engine, and we do have muffler's on these, but it's still pretty loud."

The Fish and Wildlife Service try to always practice safety, but if they ever needed to open up the engine, they said these airboats could reach about 50 mph. All of this works to make their job smooth sailing. From the Upper Souris, Bonnie Campo, KX News.

Airboat classes are held once a year for Fish and Wildlife Service employees, helping them to adapt to North Dakota's ever-changing weather.

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