Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question that you don’t see answered here? No problem, simply contact us and we’ll answer as soon as we can!

Will there be room for baggage or luggage on Hoverlink hovercraft?

Passengers will be able to bring luggage, bags, bikes and other sporting equipment on board with them within certain limits. We will be posting more details closer to our launch date in summer 2023.

Will I get seasick when riding on a hovercraft? Those Lake Ontario waves can be big!

Since hovercraft glide on a pocket of air over land, ice and water, the ride experience is very different from a traditional boat as it is less affected by waves. Hovercraft smoothly travel between 45-55 knots (approximately 80 to 100 km/h) gliding on a cushion of air that eliminates the ‘seesaw’ motion most people equate with traditional boat travel. Hoverlink passengers will experience an enclosed and comfortable craft cabin during their trip experience.

Will you offer food and beverage service?

We are working on specific plans for facilities and services at our Hoverlink terminals with a view to offer basic food and beverage options, like other ground transit option terminals. We do not plan to offer food and beverage service on the hovercraft themselves.

What about Wi-Fi and cell network coverage?

Current cell network providers offer coverage around the populated Lake Ontario waterfront, so passengers will be able to get phone coverage as far as the network providers’ signals reach out from shore. Passengers may experience a temporary drop-in service in the middle of the journey, similar to that of riding on a subway

We are still working on the specific plans and services for Hoverlink brand-new terminal facilities in Toronto and St. Catharines. We will share more details closer to our launch date in summer 2023.

Are Hoverlink’s hovercraft and terminals wheelchair accessible?

We are designing our terminal facilities and hovercraft for accessibility. All the on and off walkways, aisles inside the hovercraft cabins and terminal areas will be accessible for persons requiring the use of a wheelchair or other assisted devices.

Will you have outdoor deck areas on the hovercraft?

There will be no outdoor deck areas on Hoverlink’s hovercraft. The comfortable interior passenger cabins of the hovercraft will be climate-controlled for comfortable, smooth travel experiences year-round.

Can Hoverlink hovercraft transport my vehicle across Lake Ontario as well?

No, Hoverlink hovercraft are designed to carry passengers only. However, there is ample parking space within walking distance of both Hoverlink terminal locations. We will also be providing electric shuttle buses in both cities to transfer passengers to existing transit systems.

While the travel time from Port Weller to the Toronto terminal will take 30 minutes, won’t the transit time to and from these terminals make this a longer total trip?

No. This is because Hoverlink takes the longest part of the trip along the busy QEW and replaces it with the hovercraft trip, keeping the total travel time significantly less than doing the entire trip by car, bus or train. Hoverlink allows you to travel between Toronto and St. Catharines in only 30 minutes. That same journey can take up to three hours by car or bus, or up to two hours by seasonal train service. Hoverlink also will be supported by quick and efficient options to go to and from its terminals to areas throughout Toronto and the Niagara region. You’ll have convenient access to municipal transit and parking near or at each terminal.

What exactly IS a hovercraft?

Also known as an air-cushion vehicle, a hovercraft is an amphibious vehicle capable of travelling over land, water, ice, and other surfaces. Hovercrafts use blowers to produce a large volume of air below the hull, called an air cushion, which allows the craft to float up to 1.8 metres above the surface below. This lift is maintained and aided by a flexible rubber skirt, creating very gentle ground pressure, that is in fact equal to less than 1/16th of a human footstep. The air cushion allows for a smooth and comfortable ride that glides over surfaces.

Are your hovercraft safe?

Our hovercraft are very safe to ride. Hoverlink has spent more than 10+ years doing our due diligence, working closely with engineers to bring the latest technology to the forefront and allow the company to make this new offering of marine transportation. We are complying with all Transport Canada and other safety and registration requirements to operate in Lake Ontario year-round. As with all watercrafts that operate on Lake Ontario, support will be provided by the Coast Guard or other municipal services as needed.

What model hovercraft will Hoverlink be using?

Hoverlink will begin using two Griffon Hoverwork Ltd. designed crafts. Specifically, the Griffon BHT-130 and BHT-150 model hovercrafts will be used for Hoverlink services. Each Hoverlink hovercraft can transport up to 180 passengers per trip.

Griffon Hoverwork is the world leader in hovercraft and specialized marine technology and has supplied governments and other organizations with over 180 hovercrafts to date in over 41 countries, including for rapid transit use.

Are hovercraft noisy?

Hoverlink will begin using two Griffon Hoverwork Ltd. designed crafts. Specifically, the Griffon BHT-130 and BHT-150 model hovercrafts will be used for Hoverlink services. Each Hoverlink hovercraft can transport up to 180 passengers per trip. Not ours! Hoverllink hovercrafts use innovative design features to significantly reduce noise. Our innovative design helps our crafts to run quieter at full load and speed, producing lower noise levels than a commuter train arriving at a station, and similar to the noise level of a conversation when riding inside.

Can Hoverlink hovercraft transport vehicles across Lake Ontario as well?

No, Hoverlink hovercrafts are designed to carry passengers only. There is ample parking space within walking distance of both of Hoverlink hovercraft terminal locations. We will also be providing electric shuttle buses in both cities to transfer passengers to existing transit systems, while encouraging tourists and commuters to leave their automobiles at home.

Where else in the world are hovercraft used for public transit?

Hoverlink hovercrafts have been used as mass commuting vehicles in the United Kingdom as far back as the 1960s. Today, hovercrafts are currently in use in 43 countries around the world. Hoverlink will be the first hovercraft passenger service of its kind in North America.

Up until now, North American hovercraft use has been limited to the U.S. military, Royal Marines and both the U.S. and Canadian Coast Guards, who rely on similar crafts in harsh environments, such as in the High Arctic.

Are hovercraft more reliable than hydrofoils and ferry boats?

Yes. Unlike other traditional transportation watercraft like ferries and hydrofoils which have traditionally only been able to operate 6-9 months of the year, our hovercrafts will be able to operate safely and reliably 365 days a year between Toronto and St. Catharines.

Weather conditions have virtually no impact on Hoverlink’s carefully designed hovercraft, which are specifically built to cross Lake Ontario. In fact, they travel even better on ice than water. They can operate in -60C+ plus wind chill and very high heat, including 40%-80% humidity, and they glide smoothly over waves since they sit on a pocket of air instead.

No matter what the weather brings, Hoverlink will run safely, comfortably, and reliably. Of course, in very severe and rare circumstances (i.e., hurricane force winds), we may need to suspend service for passenger safety. This type of extremely rare weather condition will also likely impact other mass ground transit systems as well as personal vehicles.

How much will it cost to ride Hoverlink?

Hoverlink pricing will be comparable to other existing ground public transit option fares in the region. Our goal is to allow for tourists, commuters, families and students to easily and frequently use Hoverlink.

We are also exploring the interconnectivity of Hoverlink to existing ground transit systems.

Specific ticket pricing and more details will be released in early 2023 prior to the scheduled launch of the service, and passengers can anticipate affordable transit rides.

Will you charge for parking at your terminals in St. Catharines and Toronto?

Our Hoverlink terminal locations have been chosen because they offer easy access to nearby parking lots for daily and longer-term parking. As we further release details of our operational plans, parking locations and pricing will be published.

Do hovercrafts create greenhouse gas emissions?

The smallest amount possible. Hoverlink hovercrafts are powered by extremely low-emission tier 3 engines. They are supported by a DEF (Diesel Exhaust System) that reduces 98% of airborne toxins and greenhouse gas emissions.

With the capacity to serve over three million passengers a year between Toronto and the Niagara Region, Hoverlink has the potential remove thousands of vehicles from the congested QEW every day, freeing up busy roadways, and further benefiting the environment through reduced emissions.

In addition to transporting passengers, we are working with local transport and courier companies to explore the possibility of transporting some commercial parcels on our hovercrafts, potentially removing more delivery vehicles from the busy QEW highway.

Do hovercrafts harm marine life and water birds?

No. The surface pressure created by a hovercraft is equal to 1/16th of a human footprint, ideally suited for the work performed by the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans and have been in use for decades. They float on a cushion of air above the water and leave virtually no wake or wash, unlike traditional large boats that can erode shorelines and protection efforts along Lake Ontario.

Hoverlink hovercrafts are also relatively quiet, so as not to impact sensitive marine life above and below the water’s surface. Hovercrafts are for many the preferred vehicle type to minimize impacts on marine or terrestrial environments. Hydrofoil craft and ferry boats that have been used in the past, left a long wake, eroding shorelines and protection efforts along Lake Ontario.

Why has no one launched a hovercraft system across Lake Ontario before now?

Significant innovations in hovercraft technology have recently made it possible for hovercrafts to be able to easily handle the conditions on Lake Ontario and provide a truly reliable, safe and comfortable service that can cross the lake year-round. We are excited to bring this technology to the Golden Horseshoe.

Haven’t other companies tried to provide ferry services on Lake Ontario? How is Hoverlink different?

Hoverlink is doing something that’s never been done before with hovercraft transit in North America. That’s why we’ve spent more than 10 years doing our due diligence, researching the market, and working with organizations, stakeholders, and all levels of government, to determine what we need to do differently to succeed before introducing our service to the public.

We know it takes a very specific craft to handle the unique conditions on Lake Ontario – and to be able to do it reliably, quickly, safely and comfortably all year round – and only very recently have innovations in hovercraft technology made that a real option. Many who attempted it before used traditional boats like hydrofoils or ferry crafts, which meant passengers faced slow travel times and seasonal-only operations. Our hovercrafts are approved to cross Lake Ontario 12 months of the year.

Is Hoverlink a for-profit organization?

Hoverlink Ontario Inc. is a privately-owned, for-profit corporation comprised of seasoned Canadian investors with a vested interest in providing a more efficient and accessible transportation link between Toronto and the Niagara Region.

Over its decade of development, Hoverlink Ontario Inc. has focused on being a privately funded transportation service. Along the way, Hoverlink Ontario Inc.’s founder and advisors have had regular engagement across all levels of government as the system uses federal waterways, provincial ports and municipal facilities. As such, Hoverlink Ontario Inc. has received encouragement, guidance and approvals from various government departments, but its funding has been privately sourced to date.

How did you choose your terminal locations?

The downtown Toronto area offers many unique attributes that make it the perfect Hoverlink terminal in Toronto. Its proximity to the downtown core and Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport and existing connecting ground transit options, including the TTC and GO Transit, make it an attractive location. Events, museums and galleries, sports and entertainment venues, shopping and workplaces will become more accessible to residents and visitors from the Niagara Region. The Port Weller terminal is conveniently located in the heart of the Niagara Region. Port Weller offered Hoverlink a great location to build a brand-new terminal, as well as craft storage and maintenance buildings. It’s also a prime location for entry to Lake Ontario and to all that the Niagara Region has to offer. It is a short bike ride to local wineries, bike trails, and a 15-minute shuttle ride to Niagara Falls and other local attractions.

Who is your target market?

Hoverlink caters to many types of passengers, including tourists, commuters, students, families, and outdoor enthusiasts. In other words, anyone who wants to travel between Toronto and the Niagara Region in only 30 minutes.

Each craft will be able to transport 21 tons of cargo as well, making it a fast and environmental solution for Parcel Delivery Services too.

What laws must your hovercrafts follow?

Transport Canada sets the approved standards for air cushioned vehicles (ACV) that operate within Canadian waterways, including hovercrafts, and they will be updating these standards to cover mass transportation hovercrafts in relation to other crafts operating on these waterways. All Hoverlink hovercrafts will be manned by pilots & navigators who must be trained according to Transport Canada's Marine & Air Cushioned Vehicle standards.

Is Hoverlink hiring?

We will begin recruiting Hoverlink staff in Winter 2022/2023. We will share job postings and opportunities on our website when they become available. Stay connected to learn more!
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