A seaplane rating isn't something that comes to mind when most pilots are building time toward an advanced rating. This is unfortunate, because when it comes to building hours, a seaplane rating is one of the most enjoyable and easiest ratings to obtain.
Also, unless you are getting a multi-engine seaplane rating, the rating is much more affordable than a multi-engine rating. For these reasons and others, seaplane ratings are very popular with many types of the pilot; even pilots who don't plan to fly seaplanes again after their check-ride.
Seaplane Rating Training Teaches a Different Skill-set
While you can do your primary instruction in a seaplane, most pilots get the rating as an add-on to an existing certificate, such as Private Pilot or Sport Pilot. At its most basic, all that is necessary is to receive training on seaplane specific operations, like water taxiing or glassy water landings, and take a short check ride with an examiner.
Some of these skills, like sailing, will likely only apply to boating, while others will carry over into other kinds of flying. Many of the skills that do carry over don't often come up in regular flight training, but will drastically improve your flying in other aircraft.
Seaplane Rating Training Adds Variety
From airline pilots to student pilots, seaplane flying adds a level of variety to your flying no other rating or certificate can match. Once you complete your training, you can fly seaplanes out to beautiful untouched wilderness or drop into your favorite lake for a little fishing.
Between the almost 20,000 airports across the US and the millions of lakes and rivers throughout the country, a seaplane rating provides endless possibilities for new destinations.
A Seaplane Rating Requires a Practical Exam
It may seem strange to view an exam as a plus but consider the following. When you take a practical exam, the clock is rolled back on your Biennial Flight Review. Additionally, any time spent with a pilot examiner helps you get to know the examiner better.
This, in turn, makes future exams less nerve-wracking. Finally, while a practical exam is required, adding a seaplane rating to an existing certificate requires no additional written exams. The net result is after a few hours of training and an easy practical exam, you are certified to fly seaplanes and you're a little less nervous about flying with an examiner.
Seaplane rating training really is a great way to enhance your flying skills and take a little more enjoyment out of the experience of flying. For a little time and effort, you can open up a world of destinations and add a host of exciting aircraft options to your flying inventory. The only question that remains is, are you ready to hit the water and start your seaplane rating training?