ROCKLAND (AP) — Maine agencies that conduct search and rescue missions say they are prepared to use a hovercraft on coastal and inland waterways during ice out this spring.

A Department of Marine Resources spokesman says members of the state’s Marine Patrol and Warden Service have trained for two years to use the hovercraft in areas that can be difficult to reach by boat.

The hovercraft glides over obstacles on a cushion of air generated by a large fan. It was purchased for $78,000 in 2012 with money from the Outdoor Heritage Fund and the Maine Emergency Management Agency.

State marine officials say it will be helpful in operations this spring as accumulated snow melts and increases the risk of flooding.

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