Earning your single-engine-sea rating can usually be accomplished with approximately 8 hours of flight training and 2 hours of ground discussion. It will likely be eight of the most fun hours you have ever spent in an airplane.

Shore School
Down the Mississippi

The training begins by learning the specialized procedures for pre-flighting an airplane on the water, taxiing and right-of-way considerations. There are no brakes, so as soon as the engine starts you'll be moving and enjoying the challenge of operating an airplane on floats.

You'll then work on takeoffs, learning to read the wind and the water, basic airwork and move on to landings. Throughout your training you'll see sights few land-based pilots get to experience. You'll make your own runways out of lakes and rivers and you will have fun.

As you start getting comfortable and proficient with the airplane you'll move on to the advanced techniques every seaplane pilot must know in order to operate safely and confidently. These include rough-water takeoffs and landings, confined area takeoffs, glassy water landings, step-taxiing and emergency procedures.

When you've mastered those aspects of seaplane flying you'll take your checkride, the examiner will shake your hand, fill out a temporary certificate with the coveted "single-engine sea" rating and you'll know you've accomplished something very special.

Before you start training, you might want to do some reading to familiarize yourself with seaplane operations. Some excellent resources include: