Airboaters at Loxahatchee NWR

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Airboat Lottery and Permit Information


Beginning in the summer of 2020, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be allowing airboat operation in designated areas by permit only on the refuge. 



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

Permits Types and Important Dates

Permit Type: Non-hunting Airboat

When: Allowed only by permit on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from July to November. Non-hunting airboat use will be temporarily suspended during all hunting seasons that occur from July to November.
Where: 13,900 acres accessible from the Hillsboro Area boat ramp.
Number of permits available: Up to 10
View Map: Non-hunting Airboat Map (revised version includes latitude line)
ViewSpecial Conditions for Non-hunting Airboat Permit (revised version includes COVID-19 guidelines)

May 1, 2020Non-hunting lottery opens at 10:00 am EST
May 15, 2020Non-hunting lottery closes at 10:00 am EST
May 23 - 29, 2020Acceptance period closes at 4:30 pm EST
June 1, 2020      Alternates notified of unclaimed permits
June 4 - July 3, 2020    Airboat Inspections (Thursdays and Fridays)   
July - NovemberPermitted airboats allowed for non-hunting

Permit Type: Duck and Coot Hunt
To be announced

Permit Type: Alligator Hunt
To be announced

Permit Type: White-tailed Deer Hunt
To be announced

Lottery Information

How to Apply
There will be an open period when applicants can apply for the lottery. To be considered for the lottery, applicants must do the following (1) successfully complete the Airboat Operator Course, (2) read the special conditions, and (3) fill and sign an Airboat Special Use Permit Application. Applicants can submit their application to the refuge by email or by mail, the contact information is listed below. The refuge must receive your permit application, or it must be postmarked, by the deadline listed. Lotteries will be conducted and successful applicants will be notified of the results. Applicants may submit one application per permit annually.

How to Get the Permit
Once you have been chosen in the airboat permit lottery, 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, the applicant will receive a decal to affix to their boat. View and/or print the Airboat Inspection List.

Acceptance Period
Successful applicants will be notified by refuge staff of lottery results. If a successful applicant does not accept the offer and pay for the permit by the acceptance deadline, the permit offer will be withdrawn and the permit will be made available to the next applicant on the waiting list.

Fee Policies
Permit fee: $100 fee per permit annually. Fees are non-refundable. There is no cost to apply. A check or money order made payable to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is accepted.

Permits are non-transferable and are assigned to a specific boat. Each airboat operator must complete the online training course and be listed on the Airboat Special Use Permit Application to operate an airboat on the refuge.

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

No Show Policy
If a permittee forfeits their permit for any reason, the permit will not be refilled until the following open period to apply for the lottery.

Airboat Operator Course

Follow the numbered instructions:

1. Take the Airboat Operator Course

Click here to launch the Airboat Operator Course

2. Read the Special Conditions

Download and read Special Conditions for Non-Hunting Airboat Use

3. Complete Application

Instructions: You may fill the application out online and submit via email, or you may download and print the application and submit by mail. If submitting by mail, please write legibly as this application will be used to notify you of the lottery results. If submitting by email, please type "Non-hunting Airboat Application" in the subject line. Some boxes in the application are pre-filled; please fill in all empty boxes, and don’t forget to sign your name at the bottom. You must submit completed SUP application during the open lottery dates listed. By signing this special use permit application you are agreeing that you are the individual who took the Airboat Operator Course, and that you understand your responsibilities while operating an airboat in the Refuge.

Download the Non-Hunting Airboat Permit - Special Use Permit Application (not available) and submit application during the open period

Instructions: Permit applicants need to complete these boxes only:
Box 2-8: Applicant information
Box 9: List of known subpermittees who have completed the Airboat Operator Course
Box 19: Acknowledge completion of Airboat Operator Course
Box 23b: Provide descriptions, license plate, or I.D. numbers of vehicles or boats to be used
Box 26: Sign and date

Once your application is complete, submit your application:

    By email:

    By mail:
    A.R.M. Loxahatchee NWR
    ATTN: Airboat Permit Application
    10216 Lee Road
    Boynton Beach, FL 33473

Please call 561-735-6020 if you have any questions.

Helpful Links

Rules and Regulations
Hours and Entrance Fees
Plan Your Visit
Visitor Activities
About the Refuge
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission