Except for the many fun uses of hovercraft on a
personal level, the professional use of hovercraft include Search
and Rescue, Mass Transportation, Recreational, Research and Military
Hovercraft are being used as passenger ferries,
for instance across the English Channel, where they transport
passengers, goods and vehicles across in less than half an hour.
They are far less susceptible to wave motions even in bad weather
and as such provide a much smoother crossing.
Military and Rescue hovercraft are exceptionally
suited to various tasks as they are not dependent on road conditions
and can quickly move across the various terrains in pursuit of their
goal (see Military Hovercraft).
The popularity of hovercraft has seen a marked
increase in the last decade, with many practical uses for a
hovercraft being recognized and exploited.
Rescue and surveillance companies and institutions, as well
as the need of the scientific and environmental research
communities, have found that a hovercraft can go places other
"all terrain" or four wheel drive vehicles simply cannot go. The
military in particular have, not surprisingly, embraced the
hovercraft as a vehicle for many uses (see
organizations, for example, have taken to using hovercraft in
areas, especially wetlands, swamps and other sensitive water
systems such as rivers, because of the hovercraft's low impact
on the water life beneath the surface of (shallow) waters and
its ability to use the river itself as a "road surface" where
there are no other.
Particularly in swamps and wetland areas the hovercraft's
ability to travel across water-soaked land as easily as water or
through reeds has made it ideal for this type of work.
The Brazilian Amazon river system parks, the mangrove swamps
of Bangla Desh, the Florida (USA) Everglades National Park and
the Louisiana (USA) wetlands, for example, have all benefited
from the abilities of the hovercraft to aid in nature
conservation and exploration.
The somewhat negative side of hovercrafts being used for
exploration is by oil companies, who use the hovercraft's
abilities to reach remote regions, such as jungles and river
systems, to help set up (huge) drilling operations, which
greatly disturb the local wildlife.