When most people think about airboats, they envision a fun activity for tourists exploring the…
Your crew is only as good as the equipment that gets them to the job site. And when your work is done deep in the wetlands, you need airboat transportation to get you there safely.
Stan’s Airboat Service provides transportation for clients whose jobs are not accessible by terrain vehicles or even conventional watercraft. Our clients include pipeline, survey, environmental and rescue operations.
Our operators are well-trained to transport these crews and their equipment through the swamps, rivers, lakes, marshes and dry ridges between Orange, Texas and Lafayette, Louisiana or wherever else on the Louisiana Gulf Coast they need to be.
Our business is based in the small town of Iowa, just east of Lake Charles. Many of the airboats Stan’s uses were born in Franklin, Louisiana, where Mark Robicheaux has been building and servicing airboats since the 1980s. Mark’s shop is over 11,000 square feet big and includes a full-service parts house, dedicated service, fabrication and rigging stations and a soundproof polymer installation booth.
Here are a few of the features Mark builds into the airboats that make up the Stan’s fleet:
- Dome-shaped hulls make tight turns easier
- Carefully rolled and shaped stringers support the hull
- A custom-built jig holds the hull shape throughout the build
- Doublers and gussets reinforce high-stress areas
- A pre-rolled cross brace eliminates cracking
- 3/8” thick engine stand stringers add strength and durability
- Narrower and stronger engine stands reduce flex during hard running or impact and to add to the usable floor space of the hull
- Thick-wall pipe for the main hoops and rudder bars protects the propellers
- Expanded metal on the sides of the guards protects the propellers
- Swept-back lower portion of the propeller guard adds to the usable floor space
- Easy-access doors
- Customizable seating and deck space accommodates more crews and equipment
Mark doesn’t just build these boats tough—he makes them safer, easier to handle and more convenient to work from. Mark’s team of mechanics and fabricators can service and replace engines, on top of straightening and welding damaged hulls, patching and repairing polymer, diagnosing engine and drive issues and replacing propeller blades.
So… What ARE Airboats?
An airboat is merely a flat-bottomed boat propelled by an aircraft-type propeller run by a gas engine. In marshes and other shallow waters, an outboard motor (with a submerged propeller) won’t work.
The flat-bottomed design of our airboats means there are no operating parts below the waterline. This design makes them perfect for flood and rescue operations where conventional boats risk getting stuck.
During the flooding of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, for example, 30 airboats evacuated more than 3,000 patients and medical staff from four downtown hospitals in less than 36 hours.
Some manufacturers construct hulls of fiberglass. However, most are made of aluminum. Classic hull design consists of a flat bottom with an inclined front. The operator and passengers are in elevated seats that give them visibility over the water—this lets the operator and passengers see floating objects, stumps and debris in the boat’s path.
Does Stan’s Do Swamp Tours?
We get this question from time to time. The answer, currently, is “no.” Airboats are a common recreational vehicle for many people, but Stan’s primarily works with pipeline maintenance crews and surveying teams—we’re not in the tourism business at present.
Eco-Friendly Airboats and Other Transportation Services
Airboats are the perfect environmentally-friendly solution for wetlands transportation. They don’t harm the fragile wetlands and leave no marks or tracks behind. But we aren’t just airboats, either! We also have amphibious vehicles designed to move men and equipment through swamps, marshes, snow and sand. These craft have rear cargo beds that allow for material handling and personnel carrying, plus they have more than 8,000 pounds of pulling capacity.
To recap, Stan’s wants to be your “first choice” provider of marine transportation services if you work in any of the following industries:
- Oil & Gas Pipeline
- Emergency Response
We provide insurance certification, and you can rest assured our operators are trained, skilled and familiar with the areas they navigate. So if you need access to swamp or marshland areas to inspect a pipeline, conduct emergency operations or survey remote regions, remember that Stan’s has provided dependable marine transportation and pipeline integrity services on Louisiana’s inland waters for years.