On 24 October 1915, just three years after the Titanic sunk after hitting an iceberg, Ernest Shackleton found himself trapped in an Antarctic ice flow and gave the order to abandon his ship the Endurance. His men escaped the ship’s ice-locked hull but the lifeboats, unable to maneuver in ice, were practically useless leaving the men hungry and cold until their ice flow broke apart more than five months later.
From that day until 2007 no significant advances have been made to arctic lifeboat designs and modern engines and marine electronics are nearly useless to a boat trapped in ice. It was then that ARKTOS, a lifeboat manufacturer based in the chilling cold of Surrey, Canada, first came up with a great idea…. take a lifeboat and turn it into a tank!
The original concept for their invention, dubbed the ARKTOS Amphibious Evacuation Craft, was to develop a lifeboat capable of evacuating over 50 people in temperatures below -100°F. In addition, the craft is able to navigate balmier climates, pushing through mixed water/ice conditions, ice-rubble fields, shear-zone ice and high winds on any ice surface.
Videos – The ARKTOS In Action
With its familiar international orange paint sceme, evacuation is still the primary role for ARKTOS boats, however, their duties have been extended to include firefighting, geophysical survey work, and exploration in any corner of the world regardless of the climate or the terrain. And, according to the company’s new designs, amphibious ARKTOS Tugs to tow oilfield Hover Barges to the North Slope are “on the drawing board.”