Airboating

Airboaters at Loxahatchee NWR

Airboating Rules and Regulations
All refuge regulations are found on the Rules and Regulations page of this website.

Airboat Permit Information
Airboat operation is allowed in designated areas of the refuge during specific times of the year by permit only. Types of airboat permits are: Non-hunting, Alligator Hunting, Interior Deer and Hog Hunting, and Duck and Coot Hunting (phase 2 season only).

To apply for and obtain an airboat permit you must:

  1. Complete the Airboat Operator Course (online)
  2. Read the Airboat Permit Special Conditions
  3. Submit an application (application does not guarantee a permit)
  4. Successfully complete an airboat inspection
  5. Pay $100 permit fee by deadline

Airboat Operator Course
Each owner/operator must complete the Airboat Operator Course. If there are multiple operators for one boat, each operator must complete the course. Take the online Airboat Operator Course.

Airboat Permit Special Conditions
Each airboat permittee must comply with Special Conditions attached to their Special Use Permit to ensure compatibility. View the Airboat Permit Special Conditions.

Airboat Inspections
Prior to receiving a permit, you must make an appointment to bring your airboat to the refuge for an airboat inspection. Airboat permits will only be issued to airboats that pass inspection. After the airboat passes inspection and all other requirements are satisfied, the applicant will receive a decal to affix to their boat. Permits may be suspended or revoked if inspection requirements are not maintained. The following criteria will be evaluated:

  • Hull length is 16 feet maximum excluding the grass rake
  • Width is 8 feet maximum
  • Current State Registration Decal
  • Hull Identification Number
  • Minimum of 3 inches, FL #'s displayed on each side of the bow, or a minimum of 6 inch FL #'s displayed on both sides of rudders
  • Personal Flotation Device (PFD) for every occupant
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Must have an automotive-style factory muffler per Florida Statute 327.391
  • Port and starboard lights (Coast Guard Requirement)
  • Working white aft light to be seen 360‘
  • Orange Safety Flag 10” x 12" or larger, flown at a minimum of 10 feet above the waterline.

Fee Policies
Permit fee: $100 fee per permit annually. Fees are non-refundable. A check or money order made payable to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is accepted.

Requirements to Apply
Applicants must be 18 years of age before operating an airboat on the refuge.

Learn More and Apply for an Airboat Permit
Airboat Permit for Non-Hunting
Airboat Permit for Hunting