Seaplane Bases Seaplane Bases

   With few exceptions seaplane operations are authorized on U.S. Army Corps of Engineer lakes. Some states and cities are very liberal in the laws regarding the operation of seaplanes on their lakes and waterways, while other states and cities may impose stringent restrictions. It is recommended that before operating a seaplane on public waters, the Parks and Wildlife Department of the state, the State Aeronautics Department, or the FAA General Aviation District Office nearest the site of planned operation be contacted concerning the local requirements. In any case, seaplane pilots should always avoid creating a nuisance in any area, particularly in congested marine areas or near swimming or boating facilities.

   The location of established seaplane bases is symbolized on aeronautical charts by depicting an anchor inside a circle. They are also listed in Airport/Facility Directories. The facilities provided at seaplane bases vary greatly, but most include a hard surface ramp for launching, servicing facilities, and an area for mooring or hangaring seaplanes. Many marinas designed for boats also provide seaplane facilities.

   In many cases seaplane operations are conducted in "bush country" where regular or emergency facilities are either poor or nonexistent. The terrain is often hazardous, the waterways treacherous, and servicing must be the individual pilot's responsibility.

   Too many times pilots receive their water training in the "lower 48" states where facilities are mostly excellent, and shortly after receiving a seaplane rating head north to Alaska or the north woods of Canada. The results are frequently tragic. Prior to operating in the "bush," it is recommended that pilots obtain the advice of FAA appointed Accident Prevention Counselors who are familiar with the area.