When you're crane-lifting a giant hovercraft into a ship's hold, plenty can go wrong. If the supporting straps aren't completely even, the vehicle could snap in half. Even a gust of wind could send it slamming into the side of the cargo ship.
The Canadian Coast Guard, which protects the beachfront city of Vancouver, is in desperate need of a new breed of rescue vehicle. The solution is the AP1-88 Hovercraft, a 100-foot marine machine. The challenge is it's still being assembled in Southampton in a factory 9,000 miles away. Follow a team of engineers as they attempt to build and haul it across the Atlantic Ocean, through the Panama Canal, and up the West Coast of the U.S. and Canada without incident.
Access even more free Smithsonian Channel full episodes and documentaries online through participating TV providers.
Find out if your television provider carries Smithsonian Channel on air.
Don't panic! It's simple to upgrade to the latest version of one of these browsers:
Don't panic! To get the best possible experience on smithsonianchannel.com we recommend you upgrade your operating system.
For the best possible site experience, please use Chrome for Android.
Add username "SmithsonianChan" on Snapchat for fun and fascinating facts. We'll be sharing spontaneous photos and videos as inspiration strikes.