By Dilantha Dissanayake
This shark expert uses a FLYING BOAT to run eco-tourism and shark exhibitions in multiple different countries as well as to learn more about marine life.
Marine Photographer, Jim Abernethy, 59, based in the Bahamas, bought the boat so he could get a better look at marine life and understand exactly where different aquatic animals could be found.
The impressive vehicle gets the best from both air and sea as with enough speed it can take off from the ocean and remain in the air for up to two hours. It weighs around 200 kilograms with a 64-horsepower water cooled motor hitting speeds of 50 miles-per-hour.
The shark expert, who has named his flying inflatable boat the “Overseer” says that the ability to take flight at a low altitude has allowed him to broaden his knowledge of sharks and marine life.
Jim said: “There’s so much to see that I usually end up doing circles wherever I go and being able to fly low allows me to photograph sharks and other animals in great detail.
“The boat works in two different ways, in the water it’s an airboat that uses a rudder to drive which you steer with your feet.
“There’s a gas paddle to accelerate and when you’re at about 35 miles-per-hour, the boat will take off very simply.
“As soon as it takes off, the rudder stops working and it works as a weight shift flying device, it’s sort of like the world’s largest hand glider with a boat underneath it to land.
“What’s great about it is that you can land and take off as you please, it holds about 10 gallons of fuel and lasts around two hours in the end or one hour and a half with a passenger.”
Abernethy has spent his career leading divers to some of the most unique locations across many oceans and uses his flying boat to find new locations where other conservationist can learn more about the deep blue.
Jim said: “I bought it so I could get an aerial view on all wild aquatic life.
“Once I took to the air, I learned so much more about where animals were, and so much faster– it made everything easier.”