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Do Amphibious Vehicles Operate More Effectively in the Water?

Do Amphibious Vehicles Operate More Effectively in the Water?

Safe and efficient transportation is necessary for vessels on the water. Over time, waterways accumulate debris that harms wildlife and the boats traversing the water. How do you clean the sediment? Aquatic organizations use dredging to control these environments and ensure safety for all.

As technology evolves, more industry professionals are using amphibious vehicles for dredging. You can use these machines on land and water, but where are they more effective? This guide outlines amphibious vehicles’ role in the water and their effectiveness.

  1. What Do Amphibious Vehicles do in the Water??
  2. How Are Amphibious Vehicles More Effective in the Water?
  3. Are There Drawbacks to Using Amphibious Vehicles in Water?
  4. Using Amphibious Vehicles to Your Advantage

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What Do Amphibious Vehicles do in the Water?

Amphibious vehicles have grown to be an essential part of the excavation sector. Here are some of the most common uses for these machines in the water.

Removing Sediment

The primary use for amphibious vehicles is dredging and removing sediment from the water. Over time, debris builds and threatens the wildlife in the area. Plus, it can be a nuisance for ships and other cargo navigating bodies of water. Sediment buildup can cause issues for these vessels — an unwelcome situation for a global economy enduring over two years of disruptions.

Sediment buildup happens naturally because of erosion, weathering and other geological processes. However, human practices like deforestation and construction activities lead to increased debris. Amphibious vehicles are essential for cleaning the waterways and ensuring efficient transportation.

Flood Control

Floods are becoming an increasing concern for the global economy. Extreme flooding has already cost economies billions of dollars. For example, the 2011 Missouri River floods caused over $3 billion in damage and hurt businesses depending on the river for transport.

Amphibious dredgers have come to the rescue by offering flood management techniques. These excavation machines can deepen or widen rivers if necessary, increasing resilience to flooding. They’re also practical for emergency response because they can quickly remove sediment on roads, bridges and the water.

Climate change has worsened flooding in many areas nationwide, so amphibious vehicles will be more critical as the years pass.

Disposing of Debris

Once excavation has finished, dredgers transport the sediment before storing it or integrating it into the environment. You may see the debris in containment areas or disposal sites or recycled for reclamation. If the deposit is still usable, the organization may transfer it to an area needing land expansion, such as coastal areas.

How Are Amphibious Vehicles More Effective in the Water?

Amphibious vehicles have demonstrated their abilities to operate on land and water. However, they tend to be more effective on the water. Here are three reasons why dredging is more manageable in water.

Reaching Remote Areas

The world has numerous bodies of water, but not all are easily accessible. Sometimes, you need amphibious vehicles to get to these environments and navigate them.

For example, you may see amphibious machines in marshes and swamps. These environments are challenging for land-based equipment, so amphibious vehicles are necessary for dredging.

Marsh buggies are ideal for this terrain because they combine excellent traction and inbuilt flotation on the soft ground.

Amphibious vehicles are ideal for remote islands and coastal areas. These machines save time for excavators because they don’t need extensive infrastructure for transportation. Thus, companies save money on their dredging projects.


Amphibious vehicles have advanced steering systems, letting the machines turn quickly whenever necessary. These systems operate much better in the water than on land, allowing operators to be more precise. You may need to change directions or circumvent obstacles, so this task is much easier to accomplish with amphibious machines in the water.

Amphibious vehicles are also reliable because of their stability. These machines often have a low center of gravity, making it difficult to topple over on water or land. Stability is a key feature for amphibious vehicles, and dredging operations require incredible control whenever the machine is lifting sediment from the water. 

Environmental Impact

Another advantage of amphibious vehicles in the water is their environmental impact. They’re typically less disruptive to the environment than land-based excavation equipment. For example, suppose you’re excavating sediment from the water. You can spread the deposit across more water than you could land, so you’re lowering your environmental impact and helping wildlife.

Amphibious vehicles have lowered their environmental impact in recent years and are only improving. The Small Business Innovation Research program has set goals of reducing amphibious vehicle fuel usage by 10% to 15%. Increasing fuel economy helps these machines operate longer and reduces their environmental impact.

Research and development have even brought electric amphibious vehicles into the fold. These machines have zero tailpipe emissions and are much quieter in the water. They minimize their environmental impact while lowering operating costs.

Are There Drawbacks to Using Amphibious Vehicles in Water?

Amphibious vehicles are typically more suited for the water. However, there are some drawbacks to using this equipment. Here are three disadvantages. 

Payload Capacity

One concern for amphibious equipment is the payload capacity. Excavators have lower payload capacity in the water than they do on land. Amphibious vehicles use upward force to stay afloat and maintain their buoyancy. Thus, the weight is lower and payload capacity are lower. 

This limitation leads to less productivity in an operation because you’ll remove less sediment in water than on land. You may have to make multiple trips to dispose of the deposit, causing longer days and problems meeting deadlines.


Amphibious machines are excellent on land and water. However, in the water, they face the repercussions of environmental impact. Over time, the water can cost companies a lot of money in repairs due to constant maintenance and repairs.

Water is corrosive because it contains dissolved oxygen. The corrosion rate varies on the type of water you’re dredging in. Still, any contact with water and sediment accelerates wear on the machine’s exterior and interior components. Operational costs may eclipse that for land-based or water-based equipment.

Specialized Training

Amphibious dredging machines are relatively new, considering they debuted in the late 1980s. Companies have improved upon these vehicles but still require specialized training for operation on land and in the water.

Controlling amphibious vehicles requires extensive knowledge of tides, wave patterns, currents and other influencing factors in the water. Plus, you need specialized knowledge of dredging techniques for proper sediment removal and safety considerations. Many companies face labor shortages, so finding someone adept at land and water excavation can be challenging.

Using Amphibious Vehicles to Your Advantage

Thousands of ships worldwide travel across waterways and deliver goods to ports daily. How do these channels stay clean and well-maintained? The secret lies with excavators. 

Over the years, companies have gravitated toward amphibious excavators because they can operate on water and dry land. Their characteristics make them better suited for water because of their reliability and ability to navigate remote areas.

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About U.S. Aqua Services

U.S. Aqua Services was created to support the dredging process in advancing commerce and responding to its many challenges. To accomplish this, our dredging company assembled an exceptional group of experienced individuals and a diverse inventory of dredge equipment and excavator dredge pumps.

We offer dredging equipment rental services so you can have access to the latest and greatest in dredging technology without having to pay to maintain it, transport, and store it, along with dewatering services.

With an emphasis on mobility, dependability, durability, diversity, efficiency, and safety, our dredging rental company can ensure that our different types of dredging systems are easy to move through any terrain and can work in the most rugged and remote environments. Our multi-function hydraulic systems are built with jetting and mechanical options that can efficiently move loose sediment or stiff layers of clay.

US Aqua services also and maintains a ready fleet of amphibious equipment capable of completing dredging projects in some of the harshest and most remote environments. U.S Aqua is also the dealer for Louisiana of the amphibious vehicle Fat Truck. No matter the size or scope of the job or the remoteness of your work location, you can rely on Fat Truck’s industrial off-road utility vehicles to get the job done right.

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