National Advocacy Initiatives

Since its founding in 1972 the Seaplane Pilots Association has been dedicated to protecting and promoting the water flying community.

Our advocacy is directed at achieving positive impacts for the seaplane community through strategic efforts utilizing SPA staff and a growing corp of volunteer advocates. Your membership dollars, corporate sponsorship and philanthropic support are all critical to realizing success in the major initiative areas listed below.






Seaplane Safety

Seaplane safety is the most important priority for the Seaplane Pilots Association.

The association strives for continuous improvement of the seaplane safety record through a variety of advocacy efforts:

Protecting Waterway Access and Seaplane Bases

Access to navigable waterways is fundamental to the seaplane community. Protecting and promoting access to waterways and building an infrastructure that includes public-use seaplane bases were the foundational objectives behind the formation of the Seaplane Pilots Association in 1972. 

Recreational, commercial, non-governmental organization (NGO) and government-agency seaplane pilots all require access to waterways.

SPA protects waterways access by:

We help communities develop public seaplane bases that can stimulate economic growth through tourism, charter flights, seaplane flight training, fish-guiding services, oil field support, research and a host of other activities appropriate to the region.

Seaplanes have played a key role in aviation history. The first Boeing airplane was a seaplane. The first passenger-carrying commercial flight was conducted in a seaplane. Seaplanes have helped defend the free world in times of war, and as long-range military search and rescue aircraft are responsible for saving the lives of thousands of soldiers.

Seaplanes have long been the preferred vehicle for performing humanitarian missions to remote areas. They are critical to recovery efforts after natural disasters, especially in island nations. Seaplanes are used by government agencies, companies and individuals to both conserve and preserve our national resources.

Seaplanes also provide a unique form of personal flying. They can go where no other aircraft can venture, opening up a world of recreational opportunities.

Invasive Species and Environmental Issue

The Seaplane Pilots Association is engaged at the local, state and federal levels to work with resource managers and policymakers to ensure the water flying community leads by example with proactive environmental stewardship on invasive species, water quality and other environmental issues.

Both public and government agencies and organizations have a long history of using seaplanes to conduct water quality, bird migration and fish and wildlife studies; aerial fish restocking; and game warden law enforcement activities.

SPA’s aquatic invasive species (AIS) initiatives include:

Promoting the Next Generation of Seaplane Pilot

Seaplanes call on specialized piloting skills beyond what is required for land planes. Specific procedures and techniques are employed to land an aircraft on water, maneuver, and take off, but there is more to flying a seaplane than following specific procedures and techniques.

The seaplane pilot routinely must assess, judge and decide on factors that are of no concern when using a fixed-direction, hard-surface runway. What is the wind direction and speed and thus the heading and technique for the water landing or takeoff? Is the surface free of obstacles and watercraft? Is there a water current opposing the wind direction? Will I be docking or beaching?

The resourcefulness inherent in seaplane flying appeals to a relatively small but devoted group of aviators, and nurturing this community and attracting new devotees is a primary function of the Seaplane Pilots Association.

The Seaplane Pilots Association works with our sister organization, the Seaplane Foundation, to develop strategies and programs dedicated to this important mission

SPA and Seaplane Foundation Next-Gen Pilot Programs:

Educating resource managers, policymakers and the general public about seaplanes

In our experience, communities or locations where seaplanes are commonplace consider operators to be safe, highly responsible and sensitive to local community concerns, and therefore compatible with the community and those who use and enjoy local waters.

However, the seaplane community is relatively small in comparison to most other user groups that enjoy the nation’s waterways. As a result, resource managers, law-enforcement officials, policymakers and the general public may be unfamiliar with seaplane operations.

That can lead to incorrect assumptions about key issues such as safety, noise footprints, environmental concerns and compatibility with other users groups and, ultimately, result in unfair restrictions and regressive regulation affecting seaplane access to waterways.

The Seaplane Pilots Association and the Seaplane Foundation identify areas where this occurs. We actively engage with communities and policymakers to help them better understand the rigorous, federally regulated training, certification, and currency requirements with which all seaplane pilots must comply and the culture of safe, responsible flying long embraced by the seaplane community.

Seaplanes play a vital role in protecting our natural resources. Local, state and federal agencies and law enforcement divisions use seaplanes for environmental studies, game warden patrols, water-quality monitoring, fish seeding and bird migration studies to name just a few public-service missions. Seaplanes provide economic activity to local communities through flight training, sightseeing and charters to fishing and camping grounds and remote destinations.

Our passionate recreational seaplane owners and operators tend to be very community oriented, safe and conscientious. The Seaplane Pilots Association is mission-oriented to deliver that message to the people and agencies that regulate our waterways, and to the general public.

Our outreach efforts to policymakers and the public includes:

Our safety partners include: