West Seattle scenes: Hovercraft at Alki today (and Tuesday’s sub)

Thanks to David Hutchinson for the photo of a hovercraft-type vessel that showed up on Alki this afternoon. (Thanks also to Cami for sharing a photo via Facebook.) Not sure yet what it was up to but we’re working to find out! UPDATE: Just a few minutes after we published this, we got a note from Jeff, who says the hovercraft’s skipper was stopping for lunch but didn’t know powered craft were not allowed to come ashore; apparently the arrival sparked several 911 calls, but, Jeff says, the hovercraft’s operator “talked with SPD and was allowed to depart without further actions.” ADDED 5:31 PM: Jeff also shot and published this video – including the hovercraft rising up and heading back out onto the water:

(back to original story) Meantime, a photo from Tuesday – submarine spotted passing West Seattle shores:

Bob Anderson got the photo from his North Admiral backyard; he says the sub was heading northwest.

22 Replies to "West Seattle scenes: Hovercraft at Alki today (and Tuesday's sub)"

  • Cami January 5, 2011 (2:26 pm)

    Can you imagine just cruising in your hovercraft for the afternoon? Too bad I didn’t have the winning lotto ticket today!

  • AletaW January 5, 2011 (3:47 pm)

    I’ve seen guys in zodiacs meander onto the beach, leaving one member behind to care for the boats while they go to Slices and/or Pepperdocks for lunch.

  • James January 5, 2011 (5:10 pm)

    Wow, someone called 911 for that? What a waste of resources.

  • Alki Resident January 5, 2011 (5:38 pm)

    You really cant park anywhere in West Seattle anymore.

  • B@TT January 5, 2011 (5:44 pm)

    Was the boat that Tom Hanks drove up on shore in Sleepless in Seattle against the law too?

  • Under_Achiever January 5, 2011 (7:52 pm)

    There were eels in that hovercraft!

  • Bryan January 5, 2011 (8:26 pm)

    Well I learned a valuable lesson today. Don’t try to have lunch at Alki beach unless you come by car or tractor. I have landed various hovercraft that I have built on literally hundreds of beaches and never created 911 calls. It never occurred to me that using the beach in the middle of January would create such a stir. Naturally I would not attempt to land in the middle of beach with volleyball and sunbathers on a July afternoon. I asked the public’s works man operating a tractor on the beach if the spot I had parked in was going to interfere with his work, he replied “no problem”. Apparently even city employees aren’t aware.
    In the end my wife was able to bring me my fish and chips at the boat launch.
    I would say that the police boat coming from the other side of Elliott Bay at full throttle both directions burned more fuel than a month of operating the hovercraft.

  • Bryan January 5, 2011 (8:37 pm)

    BTW, I run an eel free ship.

  • John January 5, 2011 (8:45 pm)

    That hovercraft, the Amphibious Marine Explorer-22TDI is now on its way to Wrangell, Alaska to go play on the Inside Passage & the Stikine River. The 20′ prototype made a trip up the Inside from Anacortes, WA to Juneau, AK back in ’98. You can see the trip blog and pics/vids at:
    More hovercraft information can be found at the Hoverclub of America’s site:

    Oh, the hovercraft’s pressure footprint on that beach is less than that of a gull’s!

    • WSB January 5, 2011 (8:55 pm)

      Thanks for chiming in with more context for the Alki kerfuffle today. Was the Alki stop part of the trip? Any particular reason they came here? Any West Seattle ties? Sounds like a fascinating story beyond our quick crowdsourced hit here! Thanks – you also can e-mail me at editor@westseattleblog.com – TR

  • John January 5, 2011 (10:02 pm)

    The Alki stop was a final stop in the pre-delivery flight-testing phase of the Explorer-22TDI. It was delivered to a shipping company to be barged up to Wrangell, AK.

    The SEV (Surface Effect Vehicle), or hovercraft, was manufactured locally in Mason County just outside Shelton, WA by Amphibious Marine Inc. “The Olympian” just published a story about this hovercraft and the company here: http://www.theolympian.com/2011/01/04/1493911/where-theres-air-theres-a-road.html

    We have hovercraft operating in the Northwest and Alaska in Search & Rescue (Fall City FD), government/environmental use (Oregon DEQ), and with commercial fishermen and gold miners in Alaska.

    The original 1998 proving run, the first-ever hovercraft trip up the Inside Passage video snippet can be seen here:

    Kit/homebuilt versions of various sizes of hovercraft of this design, 10′ to 26′ are available at our sister site:

    Thanks for your interest! Hovercrafting is a LOT of fun and very economical, too. This 22-footer cruises at 35MPH on about 2.6 gallons per hour! The 14-footer cruises at 25-28MPH at 0.8 gph!!

    The various other models can be seen in action on snow, ice, rapids, marshes, tide/mudflats here:

  • Eric January 5, 2011 (10:36 pm)

    Cool toy…
    Sorry about that, West Seattle is home to all us guys who drives exactly 60 in the fast lane. Can’t be too careful these days as those pontoons look like Kim Jong II missiles. Although you were not flying the North Korean flag, we were being proactive in preventing spies from coming ashore in a stealth hovercraft. BTW those chips that came with the fish were the GPS types. We will deactivate them shortly.

  • Mary January 6, 2011 (8:37 am)

    Can someone explain the eels reference? Please?

  • austin January 6, 2011 (9:05 am)

    The eels joke is from Monty Python.
    Here is the sketch on youtube –
    And here is a summary of the sketch on wikipedia, in case you’re someplace that watching youtube video would be inappropriate –
    What on earth were those people calling the police for? Sandy underwear condo dwellers griped about the hovercraft blocking their view or what?

  • Under_Achiever January 6, 2011 (9:07 am)

    This phrase is used in a sketch about a badly translated English-Hungarian phrasebook from the British TV comedy show, Monty Python’s Flying Circus. There’s a video of the sketch on youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6D1YI-41ao

  • John January 6, 2011 (9:09 am)

    Eels reference is a 1970 Monty Python sketch, “Dirty Hungarian Phrasebook.” “My hovercraft is full of eels” was mis-translated from Hungarian as meaning you wanted a cigarette.

  • datamuse January 6, 2011 (11:49 am)

    I love that West Seattle has so many Monty Python fans. :D

  • stb January 6, 2011 (12:55 pm)

    Have you ever pulled a skier with one?

  • Skeeter January 6, 2011 (5:12 pm)

    While I’m not saying calling 911 was the best response, it seems inappropriate to drive this machine onto a public beach. Sure, no one was there, but operating a motor vehicle on a public beach is certainly illegal. If a person was driving an atv or Jeep on alki beach, I’d look for law enforcement to get involved as well. Neat video, though!

  • casaboba January 6, 2011 (7:46 pm)

    The founding of Seattle is usually dated from the arrival of the Denny Party on November 13, 1851 around Alki Point. Good thing 911 wasn’t available to phone back then. We might not be here! Personally, I liked the submarine photo better than the hovercraft photo.

  • bridge to somewhere January 6, 2011 (9:04 pm)

    The folks who called 911 should be fined for calling 911 in a non-emergency situation. 911 is for emergencies people.

  • miws January 7, 2011 (6:28 pm)

    casaboba, I’m enjoying the picture in my mind, of the Hovercraft Exact bringing the Denny Party to Alki Point! :lol:



Sorry, comment time is over.