airboat safety, gladesmen culture, everglades airboat tour, macks fish camp, private airboat tours

Airboat Safety at Mack’s Fish Camp

Airboats are easily the best way to get around in the Everglades. Not to mention the most fun. They can take you across the countless miles of wetlands and bring you up close to wildlife. But one may have safety concerns about the airboat ride itself. Accidents can happen, but at Mack’s Fish Camp we know that good airboat safety can help plan for many and prevent most.

For generations of Gladesmen, airboats have been a large part of our thriving out here for as long as we have. We are grateful to be able to show people from all over the world what makes the Everglades so special. But, we also take price in doing so safely.

Before an airboat tour, we advise our passengers on safety precautions before even leaving the dock. Here are some of the airboat safety guidelines airboats must follow, per the Florida Department of Environmental Services. They were designed to help offer a safer experience on an airboat ride in the Everglades.

airboat safety, macks fish camp, miami airboat tours, everglades eco tours, gladesmen culture

Preoperative Checklist
The airboat captain inspects the vessel to make sure the engine and propeller aren’t damaged and in working order. This helps to prevent both injury and mechanical breakdown.

Safety Equipment
A first-aid kit, eye and ear protection, drinking water, a B-1 type approved fire extinguisher, and a cell phone in a buoyant, waterproof case must all be on an airboat, in keeping with many requirements for recreational vessels.

Mind the Propeller
No one is permitted near the propeller. Loose clothing and items could get caught in it, resulting bodily injury to the person and damage to the airboat. To avoid this, all items aboard must be secured.

Navigation
We are trained and well-skilled in navigating and maneuvering any potential obstacles, blind spots, or tight areas. Having lived here our entire lives, we’re very familiar with the fluctuating water levels of the Everglades and the area itself. We can safely avoid getting stuck in stuck, but also know where we are in case of an emergency.

Weather
The subtropical climate of Florida can make for volatile weather conditions, such as heavy thunderstorms, high winds and lightning. We stay mindful of the weather throughout the day, acting accordingly with any changes. In case of fog, airboats are operated with strobes for increased visibility of the craft. During or pending any inclement weather like lightning or heavy rain and wind, our airboats remain docked.

Preventative Maintenance
Every week we perform maintenance to keep our airboats both clean and fully operational. We check the engine, propeller, exhaust system and more for any signs of aging or wear, making adjustments or repairs as needed.

airboat safety, everglades airboat tours, gladesmen culture, miami eco tours

We Gladesmen have been navigating the Everglades by airboat for decades now. We also take pride in sharing it with all who visit it by showing them a fun, exciting, and safe ride. This environment is our home, and we practice proper airboat safety to make sure that all visitors feel at home.


everglades airboat tours, macks fish camp, miami eco tours, gladesmen culture

Everglades Airboat Tours: A Relaxing Thrill Ride

The experience of visiting the Everglades couldn’t be more different from the busy cities near South Florida’s beaches. The latter can bring with it exciting sensory overload, while the former allows for easygoing relaxation. But Everglades airboat tours offer both a thrilling ride and the chance to explore a unique, beautiful ecosystem.

Airboats make getting there half the fun!

Built with powerful motors and a distinct design, airboats look like they’re flying over the marsh rather than on it. Racing airboats can reach speeds well over 100 miles per hour, yet most airboats operate most safely under 40 miles per hour. Our everglades airboat tours at Mack’s Fish Camp abide by this safety standard. But make no mistake, moving through this vast ecosystem on an airboat is a thrill like none other.

everglades airboat tour, macks fish camp, gladesmen culture, miami airboat tours

Airboats can go where motorboats can’t

The landscape of the Everglades has many areas with low water and thick vegetation, which are difficult for motorboats to navigate through. Airboats are flat-bottomed boats driven by a large propeller that sits above the water. This design doesn’t just allow them access to areas hidden beyond the sawgrass. The position of the propeller also prevents airboats from disturbing the plants or animals.

everglades wildlife, great egret, everglades airboat tour

Relax as you discover the river of grass

Once the initial flight of your airboat ride slows, you’ll be surrounded by the natural beauty of the sloughs and marshes. Under an endless sky, miles from crowded intersections, you can appreciate the calm stillness of nature. You’ll hear and see many species of birds, including raptors like ospreys and colorful wading birds like herons.  Not to mention you’ll see plenty of the icon of the Florida Everglades, the American alligator.

Apart from being the transportation standard of the Everglades, airboats provide an exciting way to venture deep into its many habitats. Everglades airboat tours give you the best of both worlds of Florida fun: rollercoaster thrills and the relaxation of nature.  If you want to see for yourself or are just curious, then come and pay a visit to Mack’s Fish Camp.


Sawgrass marsh, everglades tour, gladesmen culture

Experience Summer Adventure Year-Round in the Florida Everglades

There are plenty of reasons why South Florida is a popular travel destination. The gorgeous beaches and lively nightlife make visitors balk at the theme parks just over the horizon. A big factor for many tourists is the abundance of warm, sunny weather that seems to last all year. There’s only one experience in South Florida that’s as unique as the climate here: taking an Everglades tour!

Seasons in the Everglades

It definitely feels like summer in Florida for most of the year. But, the Everglades doesn’t really have a summer, or even four distinct seasons, just two! There is the wet season, which lasts from May through November, and the dry season, lasting from December through May. During the Everglades wet season, the Florida wetlands are replenished by heavy rains, and alligators nest and hatch their young. The dry season is defined by little rainfall, and peak activity of several species of Everglades birds like herons and egrets.

Baby Egrets, Wading Birds, Everglades tour
Egret chicks

When is the Best time to Visit the Everglades?

The best time to take an Everglades tour can be a matter of preference. The dry season offers cooler temperatures, and the lower water levels and bird nesting concentrate Everglades wildlife into smaller areas. But many tourists visit South Florida at this time, and it gets very busy. During the wet season there are fewer crowds, but also higher temperatures and frequent rain.

Despite there being only two seasons in the Everglades, there are transition periods between them. Starting in October, a noticeable shift starts to occur, the rains become less frequent, and the heat is less intense. Also, a decrease in humidity brings a decrease in pesky, biting mosquitoes!

Alligator, sawgrass marsh, everglades tour

The Everglades wet season can get too hot for some, and the dry season can bring too many people. But, maybe there’s a time of year that’s just right for you. Miami in the fall doesn’t see the leaves changing colors, but the license plates start to! So before the holidays take a bite out of your budget, and snowbirds start arriving from across America and beyond, consider taking an Everglades tour in Miami this fall at Mack’s Fish Camp.


Wood Stork, Everglades Eco Tours

Tips to Spot Everglades Wildlife on an Airboat Tour

The Florida Everglades is filled with an impressive variety of wildlife, including birds, reptiles, and even mammals. You may spot many animals out in the open, and some hiding in the sawgrass while taking an Everglades airboat tour in Miami. But there are a few things to do and consider before taking an airboat ride that will help your chances.

Consider the Time of Year

Everglades Birdwatching

Over 350 species of birds have been sighted in the Everglades. The largest and most diverse concentration of birds occurs here during Everglades dry season, from December through mid-May. The cooler air brings in migratory birds like bluebirds from the north, and even tropical birds like Flamingos from the Caribbean. The lower water levels of the dry season help local wading birds like the Great Blue Heron and Roseate spoonbill nest and raise their young.

But, we can’t forget the most famous species of Everglades wildlife…

Great Egret, everglades airboat tour. Everglades Wildlife, Airboat Eco Tour

Best Time to Spot Everglades Alligators

Alligators often prefer the cooler temperatures of the dry season, but are active for much of the year. Alligator mating season in the Everglades lasts from mid-April through May, followed by nesting season from June and July. By August, you’ll see baby alligators swimming and hear their tiny roars coming from the sawgrass.

Everglades airboat tour, Miami eco tours, everglades wildlife, Alligator

Become Familiar with Everglades Wildlife

When you take an Everglades airboat tour in Miami, you will be guided be true blue Gladesmen that are very knowledgeable of Everglades wildlife. They can help you identify animals and answer questions you might have about them. But, if you do a little studying on the animals you’d like to see beforehand, you can spot them on your airboat ride more easily.

Consider the Temperature

With average temperatures in the 80’s or higher, the summer in South Florida can get very hot, especially for the animals. Summer temperatures can also stretch into late spring and early fall, too.

Like Florida’s human residents, most animals spend much of the day trying to keep cool and avoid the sun. As a result, many birds and other Everglades wildlife are most active in the morning and early afternoon during the summertime.

everglades airboat tour, Everglades wildlife, everglades alligators, Miami Airboat rides

Keep a Lookout for Movement

Alligators can spend a lot of time in the water, and can be so still they’re often mistake for logs! That ripple you just saw in the water might not have been a large mouth bass. Wading birds like egrets and herons also stalk their prey so slowly that you can miss them standing by the cat tails and sawgrass.

And keep an eye out for color differences of objects you see against each other. Birds can’t be sneaky and pretty at the same time if you’re watching closely!

As incredible as the Everglades are, the biodiversity of this ecosystem makes it even more unique. It’s a sure bet that you’ll see a good number of animals while airboating in Miami. Make sure to keep an eye out for them, and remember that timing is everything!

Keep the season and time of day in mind when planning your Everglades trip. But no matter when you take your airboat ride at Mack’s Fish Camp, you’ll get to see these animals up close and in their natural habitat.


Everglades Eco Tours, Florida wildlife

Why the Best Everglades Fishing is at Mack's Fish Camp

South Florida is a paradise for fans of the outdoors, especially those who love fishing. The Everglades has an ecosystem that is home to large numbers of Peacock bass and largemouth bass, along with other species like Florida gar and tarpon.

A popular fishing spot, the Everglades holds a record for the most fish caught per person per hour, which is impressive when taking into account Florida’s many lakes and rivers.

If you’re a professional angler or it’s your first time fishing, here’s how you can have the experience of a lifetime Everglades fishing at Mack’s Fish Camp in Miami.

Land a Lunker On a Jon Boat Rental or Guided Fishing Tour

At Mack’s Fish Camp we have everything you need to have a fun and successful Everglades fishing trip. We offer jon boat rentals, and sell tackle, beverages and snacks at our store. But, if you’d like to have some help navigating the Everglades, and are up for some exploration while you do, Mack’s Fish Camp offers airboat bass fishing guide service.

everglades, bass fishing, guide services, bass fishing charter

Gladesmen who have fished the Everglades since they were born will be your knowledgeable guides, showing you both great fishing spots and the unique beauty of the River of Grass.  On this 4-hour Everglades fishing trip, you’ll be provided with tackle, fishing rods and reels, sunscreen, bug spray, and a cooler packed with refreshments from our store.

airboat bass fishing, lunker, hog, swamp fishing

Everglades Airboat Bass Fishing

Bass fishing on an airboat has its own distinct advantages. Because airboats move by a propeller that’s above the water, their movement doesn’t disturb fish as much as traditional boat motors do. Also, airboats can navigate over shallow water in marshes, allowing more access to areas of the Everglades than regular boats can.

But in addition to an amazing fishing trip, you’ll be treated to an to an airboat ride where you’ll see many species of Everglades wildlife up close. The Everglades is home to many birds like egrets, roseate spoonbills, great blue heron, and is the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles coexist.

Bass fishing in the Everglades provides a great time in truly unique and beautiful place. At Mack’s Fish Camp, taking an Everglades fishing trip while enjoying an airboat ride provides a thrill for the whole family. Whether fishing alone or with a guide, the Florida Everglades provides plenty of great weather, incredible scenery, and of course, plenty of fish!


Everglades sunset, Miami airboat tours

Everglades Airboat Tours: Summer Fun Close to Home!

Going into late July, we’re entering the dreaded “Dog days of summer” in South Florida. You’ve probably taken a family summer vacation out of town, and the kids will be headed back to school in a few weeks. With summertime running out and starting to drag, you might be feeling the itch for one more adventure. So, why not seek it in your own backyard? Everglades airboat tours are a great way to have some late summer family fun in Florida without the theme park price tag

Exciting and Educational All Ages Fun

Taking an airboat ride in the Everglades can be a blast for all ages. Young or old, toddler or teen, Everglades airboat tours provide excitement and exploration for all ages. With a born and bred, fifth-generation Gladesmen as your guide, you’ll learn a lot about the Everglades ecosystem and the over 350 animal species that thrive here.

Theme Park Thrills Without The Lines

While Florida theme parks are bursting with attractions and rides, they’re also bursting with large crowds in the summer. Lines and wait times can be up to 2 hours long for rides that last for only a few minutes. In South Florida, the Everglades is a hidden gem just west of the sunny beaches of Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, and Miami. When you come to take a private airboat tour at Mack’s Fish Camp, the ride is waiting for you, never the opposite.

airboat, big boat, boat tour, airboat rides

With the many northern visitors Florida receives during the winter, it’s no secret that Florida is warm year-round. The increased humidity coupled with rising temperatures can make even a trip to the beach a tiring ordeal, and The Everglades can feel the heat, too.

In the summer, Everglades airboat tours are best-enjoyed in the morning until noon and in the late afternoon. In addition to the temperature being more hospitable to people then, much of the Everglades wildlife, like the many bird species residing here, are more active then. Also, if you take an airboat ride later in the day, you can witness a vivid, wildly colorful Everglades sunset.

everglades, sunset, tour, sunrise, glades, sawgrass, river of grass

Beat the Heat and See Real Florida Magic

Time and money can take on more importance as summer break draws to a close. Even with the school year looming large, you want to make good use of that extra time with your family. If you live in South Florida, taking an airboat ride at Mack’s Fish Camp in the Everglades is an exciting and affordable way to do that while staying close to home.


sawgrass, everglades national park, airboat rides

Things to Bring on an Everglades Airboat Tour

Taking an Everglades airboat tour is an exciting way to explore this hidden part of Florida. But it’s important that you bring everything you need to have a fun trip. Before you embark on your adventure here at Mack’s Fish Camp, make sure that you have these essentials.

Comfortable Clothing – An airboat ride is a casual affair, so there’s no need to dress up. Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes. Long-sleeved shirts and pants can deter bugs, but could be uncomfortable in the Florida heat and humidity.

Water – It’s true that the Everglades is a source of drinking water, but the water you’ll be seeing on the tour isn’t really drinkable. Bring a water bottle to stay hydrated.

Polarized Sunglasses – UVA/UVB sunglasses can protect your eyes from harsh solar rays. Polarized lenses reduce glare, which will make it easier for you to spot Everglades wildlife.

Camera – Your airboat tour guide will bring you up-close to some unique Florida wildlife, and more will appear on your trip. Snap some photos to show off the epic scenery to your friends.

Binoculars – Not all animals you notice may be too easily seen. Bringing these can help you to better see things like bird nests from far away.

american alligator, gator, everglades, swamp, sawgrass, everglades reptiles, miami airboat tours

The following items are all provided and included with your Everglades airboat tour, so if you meant to bring them but forgot, we’ve got you covered!

Sun Screen – Florida can definitely live up to its nickname of “The Sunshine State”, and that sunshine can even cause sunburns on cloudy days. Applying some sunscreen can keep a sunburn from being one of your memories of the ride.

Raincoat / Poncho – That sunshine can switch to rain quickly in Florida, especially during the summer months. So it’s a good idea to keep a raincoat on-hand.

airboat, blowboat, fanboat, airboat ride, everglades airboat tour

Insect Repellant – Bugs can be as abundant as gators and ibises out here. This item can be helpful if you opt to wear shorts or a t-shirt.

Hearing Protection – Because airboat motors get very loud, we always carry ear muffs to provide comfortable, over-ear protection.

Having these items will help you to enjoy an Everglades airboat tour comfortably and safely. But make sure not to bring any loose-fitting clothing that could get blown away by the wind. If you have any questions about our airboat tours, please contact us at 954-536-7400


everglades, sunset, tour, sunrise, glades, sawgrass, river of grass

See the Everglades or the Beach: Why Not Both?

Many people travel from all over the world to South Florida and visit the beaches in Fort Lauderdale and Miami, and some aren’t aware that the Everglades even exists! Other people who visit Florida are aware of the Glades and snub it entirely, preferring the sea and sand. Being such different places, both have their individual appeal, and we see the Everglades as the overlooked side of the same sunny coin that is Florida.

A Crowded Coast and an Open Wilderness

great blue heron, heron, everglades birds, wading birds, miami eco tours,
Great Blue Heron

Spending a day at the beach, having the tides wash over your toes can be quite relaxing, but the crowding of the area can reduce that significantly. Out west, past the city and sprawling suburbs, lies 1.5 million acres of undeveloped wilderness that are home to 350 species of birds and 23 endangered and threatened species.

When you’re visiting the coast, the calm of the sea can be overtaken by the noise and clutter of the city, which can be as tiresome as it is charming. For what the Everglades lacks in creature comforts, it more than makes up for in a sprawling landscape waiting to be explored on a private airboat tour.

A Private Airboat Tour: Relaxation and Exploration

Several different habitats make up the vast ecosystem of the Everglades, making it a great place to explore and compliments the static calm of the beach. Camping, hiking and canoeing are all great ways to discover the ecology of Everglades wildlife. Taking a private airboat tour is an exciting way to see the best areas of the River of Grass up close!

Another great way to immerse yourself in the Everglades is to go on a guided fishing charter. You get all of the relaxation of fishing on a beach pier or jetty while venturing into a part of Florida seen by few people.

everglades, bass fishing, guide services, bass fishing charter
Everglades Bass Fishing Charter

Much to do, and more to see!

The beach has some wildlife, but save for seagulls and pelicans the few animals there are most active at dawn before people start showing up. The Everglades is home to several species of birds, amphibians and reptiles, including the iconic American alligator.

everglades wildlife, florida birds, wading birds, roseate spoonbill, miami airboat tours
Roseate Spoonbill

Wading birds like the Great Blue Heron, wood stork, and roseate spoonbill nest here in droves in the winter and raise their young into late spring. Once the wet season begins in June, alligators, frogs and turtles become more visible.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and in South Florida there is plenty of it all around. Some of it is hiding in plain sight, just as easy to miss as it is rewarding to find. When you take a private airboat tour at Mack’s Fish Camp, you’ll discover a hidden treasure more valuable than gold: adventure!


sawgrass, everglades national park, airboat rides

Public Versus Private Airboat Tours

Having so many different types of habitats, much of them covered by water, taking an airboat tour would definitely be the best way to experience the Everglades. The question is which is the better option for you,  public or private airboat tours?

The Florida Everglades is a magnificent place that offers a chance to explore that can’t be found near the beaches of Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Being the largest subtropical ecosystem in the United States, it’s home to a great variety of native plants and wildlife. There may be zoos near the city where people can see exotic animals, but it’s far more exciting to view them in their natural habitat.

Public Airboat Tours

Public airboat tours are an affordable way to see the Everglades, because they usually include other activities with the admission price, like nature shows featuring Florida wildlife and, alligator wrestling. While offering a bigger bang for your buck, you may feel that you’ve traded a quality experience for quantity. Public airboat tours tend to run short, being only 30-45 minutes on average.  Also, many public airboat tours are given on larger airboats which can’t move quickly, further limiting how far they can travel inside of an hour.

airboat, blowboat, fanboat, airboat ride, everglades airboat tour

Another drawback from these higher-capacity boats is the overhead covering and lack of elevated seating can make it harder to see or photograph the wildlife or scenery.

Private Airboat Tours

Taking a private airboat tour is going to cost more money, but you’ll also receive more personal attention from your guide. Unlike the public rides, private tours typically last an hour or longer, and offer a better chance to learn plenty of valuable information about the Everglades from your tour guide.

And rather than seeing only a handful of Florida wildlife in a nature show, you’ll get to observe more species of wading birds, reptiles, and more in their natural environment.  The longer duration of private tours will let you explore the many distinct habitats of the Everglades ecosystem.

Great Egret, everglades airboat tour. Everglades Wildlife, Airboat Eco Tour

What kind of airboat tour would you choose?

airboat, big boat, boat tour, airboat rides

When visiting South Florida, there is plenty of adventure to be found west of the beach.  All of the glow and noise of the coast is easily rivaled by venturing into the unique wilderness of the Everglades. If you’re looking to visit a one of a kind place, why settle for a “one size fits all” experience?

At Mack’s Fish Camp,  we specialize in private airboat tours lasting from 1 to over 3 hours, with fifth-generation Florida Gladesmen  as your guide.  If you’re ready to trade the pre-packaged theme park experience for an authentic taste of Florida, come see us.


Everglades Eco Tours, Florida wildlife

What is an Airboat, Anyway?

The airboat is known as a transportation standard of swamps and marshes the world over, including the Florida Everglades. It also provides a fast and exciting way to experience the River of Grass and other habitats of this unique region of South Florida. They are also called fanboats, blowboats, or “What kind of boat is that?” by the uninitiated. Simply put, they are flat-bottomed boats, also called jon boats, that are moved by a large propeller at the back of it. Before you go airboating in Miami, here is some background information for both the experts and the curious alike.

Airboat History

The first airboat, dubbed “The Ugly Duckling”, was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1905 in Nova Scotia. In 1920, aviation pioneer and Florida native, Glenn Curtiss, helped build “The Scooter”, which had a closed cabin that could hold six passengers and had a large, uncovered propeller in the back of the craft. The flat-bottom version as we know it is largely credited to a homemade design built by Leo Young, Hortin Jensen, and Cecil Williams in the 1940’s. When word spread about their innovation, the design’s popularity made it the standard.

vintage airboating, airboating, fanboat, everglades, macks fish camp

Some Airboat Facts and Stats

miami airboat tours, miami eco tours, miami sight seeing, airboat rides miami everglades

  • Until the 1980’s, they used aircraft engines. But for ease of maintenance, they have been largely replaced by automotive engines
  • Similar to airplanes, most are driven by a throttle stick and another stick to turn right or left
  • While some racing models can reach speeds upwards of 130 miles per hour, they are most safely operated at around 50 MPH, which is important because…
  • They don’t have brakes. Some designed for rescue in colder climates have them to prevent slipping on ice. Operating one involves knowing when to slow down to bring it to a stop.

The Florida Everglades is a large place, with an impressive variety of terrain and wildlife to see here. Offering both an exciting ride and a fun, educational experience for the whole family, airboating in Miami offers a glimpse into an overlooked, but unforgettable part of Florida. Navigating the Everglades by airboat is and has been a vital part of the Gladesmen Culture here at Mack’s Fish Camp for generations, one that we have the privilege of sharing with you.