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Radio control boats compared to other RC models
With hobby-quality radio control boats, sometimes referred to as remote control boats, you can do most of the same things that you can do with RC cars. You can run them for fun, race them, admire their scale looks, and add option parts to increase their performance.
The main difference is that you don’t run your RC boat on land. That’s what makes them so popular and exciting. Picture yourself at the lake on a sunny afternoon, racing your remote control boat through the shimmering water with a broad wake and tall rooster tail behind it. Or maybe you'd prefer to gently glide along with a remote control sailboat. There’s nothing else in the RC hobby like it.
The only special requirement is that you need a body of water large enough for the RC marine model you own, without strong currents and relatively free of limbs, grasses, and other obstacles that could snag it. If your RC boat does get stuck away from shore or runs out of power in the middle of the lake, you may need access to a jon boat or other safe way to retrieve it.
Otherwise, piloting your own RC boat is as easy as driving an RC car. And just like RC cars, radio control boats are available in a wide range of styles, sizes, skill levels, completion levels, and prices. Horizon Hobby® has one that’s perfect for every interested hobbyist.
Types of RC boats
Radio control electric boats are available in many styles. Tunnel hull and hydroplane RC boats are among the fastest, with flat bottoms that skim across smooth water with little resistance when up to speed. For rougher conditions, the V-shaped hull of deep vee RC boats is best. Though not quite as fast, a deep vee can cut more easily through choppy water. Electric RC boats come in many sizes, including mini, which can be run in swimming pools or small ponds. The jet pump propelled Pro Boat® Jet Jam™ mini RC boat is a blast in water only three inches deep!
Powered by wind like their full-size counterparts, RC sailboats are great for beginners and economical, too. They provided unlimited run time as long as there’s a breeze. You might think of sailboats as elegant and leisurely paced, but there are also RC racing sailboats for modelers who crave speed.
Scale RC boats prioritize realism over speed. They still perform well, but their owners pay close attention to recreating the full-scale subjects accurately. The Dumas® Creole Queen scale steamboat kit features a motor-powered paddle wheel and includes three pages of decals.
RC airplane pilots can make an easy transition into boating with an RC airboat. These use the same power plants and propellers as RC aircraft. The engine mounts on a pedestal at the back of the boat and the force of the spinning prop pushes the boat across the water.
Remote control boats in kit form or ready-to-run (RTR
Like other categories of radio control models, RC boats can be purchased ready-to-run (RTR) with most or all accessories included, or as kits that usually require assembly, power systems, and radio equipment.
Many ready-to-run RC boat models have molded ABS plastic hulls and decks that are already joined at the factory. The motor and running hardware are usually also installed. RC boats with ABS hulls tend to be among the most affordable, but speed and performance are still impressive. With optional accessories, the Pro Boat Blackjack™ [link https://www.horizonhobby.com/product/blackjack-42-8s-brushless-catamaran-rtr/PRB08043.html] with ABS hull can go 30 mph or more.
Factory-built RC boats are also available with preformed fiberglass hulls. Fiberglass boats are more expensive due to the amount of work required by the manufacturer (the reinforcing fiberglass material must be saturated with a liquid resin and then applied to the boat hull mold). This construction is usually found on high-performance RC boats like the Pro Boat UL-19 Hydroplane, whose speed can exceed 50 mph.
Scale RC boat kits often feature wooden hulls. Though among the least expensive boat models, wooden boat kits also require the most work to complete. Many wood planks must be fitted onto the hull framework and then finished with paint or resin to ensure the hull is watertight.
Accessories needed to operate an RC boat
The RC boat you choose will determine what else you’ll need to buy. Most ready-to-run (RTR) RC boats available from Horizon Hobby include a 2-channel radio system, motor, and ESC. You might need to provide your own suitable battery pack and battery charger. Read the product descriptions to learn what is and is not included with the RC boat you’ve chosen, and for recommended completion items.
You’ll find that the internal design of a typical electric RC boat is pretty simple. The motor is located near the front of the boat. It’s connected to a drive shaft that runs toward the back of the boat and out through the bottom of the hull. The boat’s propeller is at the end of the shaft, submerged in the water. A servo-activated rudder positioned just behind the propeller enables you to steer.
RC boats often use water cooling to keep their motor and ESC from overheating. These components are wrapped with coils of aluminum tubing, and the coils are connected to a water pickup at the bottom of the hull. As the boat moves forward, water is forced into the pickup and through the coils to provide cooling.
The electronics used in RC boats are highly water-resistant, but the boat manufacturer may recommend additional steps to seal out water for additional protection. You should also be aware that most remote control boats should not be used in saltwater. Unlike freshwater, saltwater can cause rust and other damage to delicate electronic parts.
Check out all of the great RC boats available at Horizon Hobby as well as our wide selection of boat accessory items and replacement parts from Pro Boat , Spektrum™ and Dynamite®.