Non-hunting Airboat Permit


Airboat Permits for Non-hunting

Airboat operation is allowed in designated areas of the refuge during specific times of the year by permit only. A Non-hunting Airboat Permit allows you to operate an airboat on the refuge for fishing, frogging, wildlife observation, photography, and other wildlife-dependent recreational activities. There will be an open period when applicants can apply for the airboat permit lottery.

To be considered for the lottery applicants must:

  1. Complete the Airboat Operator Course (online)
  2. Read the Airboat Permit Special Conditions
  3. Submit an application during the Application Period

If drawn for an airboat permit you must:

  • Successfully complete an airboat inspection
  • Pay $100 permit fee

Visit the Airboating page for links to Rules and Regulations, Airboat Operator Course, special conditions, airboat inspections, fees, and more.

Lottery Information


2021 Dates for Non-hunting Airboat Permit Lottery:

  • May 1:Lottery Opens
  • May 15: Lottery Closes at 4:30 pm EST
  • June 1: Applicants notified of lottery results
  • June 12, 13, 17, and 18: Airboat inspections by appointment
  • June 18: Permit Acceptance Deadline
  • July – November: Non-hunting Airboat Permit season

Permit Period: This permit is for airboat use only on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from July to November. Non-hunting airboat use will be temporarily suspended during duck and coot seasons that occur from July to November.

Location: Non-hunting airboat use is allowed only by permit in the refuge interior south of latitude line N 26° 23.876'. View the Non-Hunting Airboat Permit Map.

Number of permits available: Up to 10

How to Apply: There will be an open period when applicants can apply for the Non-hunting Airboat Permit lottery. To be considered for the lottery, applicants must (1) successfully complete the Airboat Operator Course, (2) read the special conditions, and (3) submit an Airboat Special Use Permit Application. Applicants can submit their application to the refuge by email or by mail using the contact information listed below. The refuge must receive your permit application, or it must be postmarked, by the Lottery Closes date listed. Applicants may submit one non-hunting airboat permit application annually.

Permit Acceptance: Successful applicants will be notified of lottery results. If a successful applicant does not accept the offer and pay for the permit ($100) by the Permit Acceptance Deadline, the permit offer will be withdrawn and the permit will be made available to the next applicant on the waiting list.

Transferability: Permits are non-transferable and are assigned to a specific airboat. Each permit allows a maximum of three airboat operators. Each airboat operator must complete the Airboat Operator Course and be listed on the permit to operate 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.

Application Instructions

After completing the Airboat Operator Course, download the application and read the special conditions for airboat use. Please write legibly if filling out by hand. Some boxes are pre-filled; please fill in all empty boxes, and don’t forget to sign your name at the bottom. 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. You must submit completed application during the open lottery dates listed.

Lottery Application: Download the 2021 Non-hunting Airboat Permit Application and submit during May 1-15, 2021.

Applicants need to complete only these boxes:
Boxes 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 and airboat to be used
Box 26: Sign and date

Submit your application:

    By email: armloxahatchee@fws.gov
    * Please include "Airboat Permit Application" in the subject line.

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

Please email armloxahatchee@fws.gov if you have any questions.