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Lynden's Hovercraft teams provide essential services in Alaska

Posted on Fri, Aug 30, 2019

Bering Marine HovercraftImagine working 46 days each year in zero visibility. Now imagine being responsible for safely transporting people and freight in these conditions. For the professional mariners working on Lynden's Bering Marine hovercraft team, it's all part of the job. Five times each day, they load up the AP-188 hovercraft with 60 ENI Petroleum employees and safely transport them roundtrip from Prudhoe Bay to Spy Island, a drill site near Oliktok Point, AK. Six Bering Marine captains and deck hands support the project which also includes hauling freight for ENI and operating as a medivac standby vessel.

"Our ENI partnership is a highly successful operation," says Port Engineer Steve Isaacs. "In the past 10 years, we have hauled 18,468,394 pounds of freight, 50,903 passengers and made 4,838 round trips to the Spy Island drill site (pictured above). While other hovercraft companies have failed in the arctic, we have proven ourselves and shown the many benefits of this equipment. We operate the two largest commercial hovercraft in the country."

Hovercraft freightWhile the North Slope crew is hard at work in Prudhoe Bay, another three members of the hovercraft team are in Bethel delivering mail and essential freight to remote villages in the western part of Alaska. This service, which began in the 1990s, provides delivery to villages on the Kuskokwim River throughout the year. The winding river presents its own challenges with traffic from snow machines in the winter and boats in the summer.

Captain Paul "Duke" Bischoff spent 15 years in the Navy's hovercraft program before joining Lynden. "I really enjoy operating this type of craft because of the special challenges while maneuvering over land and ice, as well as the frequent high-wind situations we get in the arctic," he says. "Combined with the changing conditions at our landing site during the ice formation and breakup, you have an operation that definitely keeps you on your toes."

From September to February, the six members of the hovercraft team are the only mariners on the entire North Slope. "No other merchant marine works in the arctic that time of year," Steve explains. "Our hovercraft team serves as the medivac and lifeline for emergency situations in subzero temperatures."

A few years ago, the team started a spring cleanup program, using the unique capabilities of the hovercraft to pick up ice road debris during breakup. "Our hovercraft is the only vessel that can reach these areas during the spring thaw. We are doing our part to keep the arctic clean," Steve says.

Tags: Bering Marine Corporation, Hovercraft, Green Lynden, Environmental efforts, Shipping in Alaska, Alaska

Git along, little… caribou?

Posted on Thu, Jun 13, 2013

Hovercraft with caribou

Here's something you don't see every day! Lynden’s hovercraft almost looks like it’s moving along with the migrating caribou in this photo. According to Bering Marine Vice President and Captain Jack Rasmussen, the shot was taken this past winter at the hovercraft storage area near Oliktok Point, AK, about 40 miles west of Deadhorse.

Tags: Bering Marine Corporation, Hovercraft, Alaska, Wildlife

Video: "Alaska Hovercraft - Subzero temperatures, no roads, no excuses."

Posted on Mon, Oct 26, 2009

Have you seen the video for Alaska Hovercraft (part of the Lynden family of companies)? They deliver mail and freight from Bethel, Alaska to villages in the Y-K Delta...over land, snow, or water!

 

Note: Sorry for reposting this (it was originally posted a week or so ago), but the link to the video changed and I wanted to keep everyone up-to-date. Thanks!

Tags: Hovercraft, Shipping in Alaska, Alaska Hovercraft, Alaska

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