We use the amphibious vessel Hydra-Terra built by C.A.M.I (Cool Amphibious Manufacturers International). These modern vehicles are built purposefully for tourism and have marked differences from the old DUKW vehicles.
Hydra-Terra is proven unsinkable
The manufacturer has designed and patented the aluminum hull which is 4 full feet of sidewall height and unsinkable. The engine is in the middle of the vehicle including the radiator in what is referred to as the tunnel. Along both sides of the hull, box compartments have been fabricated. These are then filled with urethane flotation foam approved by the U.S. Coast Guard. There are no wires, mechanics, or fluids running into or through these filled compartments. The construction from the top then resembles a large pontoon or sponsons on each side of the engine room tunnel. So in the event of flooding, the only place water can accumulate is in the very center of the vessel, it cannot go freely from side to side increasing stability not losing it. The amount of flotation foam is the entire weight of the vehicle, full weight of all gear, seats, fuel, etc. and then the U.S. Coast Guard calculates each sole aboard is 185 lbs, or about 5 tons. Then a reserve above this amount of generally 1,000 lbs is added so when all the drain plugs are removed and water is allowed to free flood the center tunnel, with full load of passengers aboard, the vessel is still about 8″ ABOVE the water line and passenger’s feet are still dry.
The Hydra-Terra has a patented design of the hull that is unique to amphibious tour vehicles. Its center of gravity is exceptionally low. This translates into safer operations on the water. Our vessels are all rated at Partially Protected waters for the U.S. Coast Guard stability. No DUKW is approved for Partially Protected waters.
This is very important; fully loaded with passengers our distance from the water up to the top rail of the sides is 4 full feet! DUKW’s have approximately 16 to 18 inches.
All DOT and U.S. Coast Guard regulations are followed. Our vehicles are all inspected during manufacturing to ensure all federal regulations for passenger safety are installed. Passenger escape, access doors, aisle widths, distance from seat to door are all included in our approved regulations.
DUKW’s had grandfather protection and numerous special exemptions from a law called a NAVIC. The aisle ways are much smaller, doors are smaller, and emergency egress is more difficult than Hydra-Terra vehicles.
Hull superstructure engineering
The Hydra-Terra hull is designed to international standards adopted by many governments including the U.S. Coast Guard. ABS high-speed craft rules are written by a society of naval engineers to ensure safe vessel construction. The design for the Hydra-Terra had to be fully inspected and approved PRIOR to any construction of the hull. There are countless calculations performed on the design. C.A.M.I engineered and designed the hull, then hired an outside naval architect firm to again run all of the numbers engineering wise for stress as well as stability of the vessel. Only then after their full review, did C.A.M.I submit the hull plans to the Coast Guard. Coast Guard procedure is to completely review all drawings, design, materials, welding procedures, and material testing independent of those submitted for approval. The hull was fully signed off from the U.S. Coast Guard as meeting all requirements of “T” boat regulations. These are the current laws for all commercial vessels. The Hydra-Terra complies without any such NAVIC exemptions. In addition to all of the above, C.A.M.I had the design put into the supercomputers for a full finite element analysis. This is the same analysis used to test supersize ships. The Hydra-Terra passed with no modifications required.
The Hydra-Terra is built with all current mass-produced technology. Brand new components are used during construction and meet the model year DOT requirements.
We use current Caterpillar engines that meet all model-year federal emissions standards. Helping keep the environment clean.