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Operating Your Argo on Water

Argo in water

Whether you call it an Amphibious ATV or an Xtreme Terrain Vehicle, there’s no question that what makes Argo’s signature vehicle stand out is its ability to travel across water. However, it’s unique design means it’s not like operating a boat or a UTV once it’s floating. Here’s what you need to know to safely use an XTV to travel across water.

Loading Your XTV

Payload capacity is lower in water than it is on land; check the data plate on the left side of the cabin for load recommendations. If you’ve added accessories, their weight needs to be subtracted from the maximum payload. If you installed 24×10.00-8 tires on your XTV, the maximum payload will be 100 lbs. lower due to reduced buoyancy.

Aurora models can carry four people on both land and water. 6 wheel Frontier XTVs can carry two people on the water, while 8 wheel Frontier and Avenger models can carry up to 4 people.

If you have tracks installed, the vehicle cannot propel itself when floating. Keep the vehicle in shallow water, or install an outboard motor to propel the vehicle on water.

Areas You Should Avoid

Argo amphibious ATVs are not designed to cross large bodies of water. Stay close to the shore so you can drive back onto land if there’s a problem. Do not enter water with strong currents, and avoid crossing water in windy conditions. Avoid operating in areas where you may be exposed to cold water: contact can quickly lead to hypothermia.

Equipping Your XTV

All passengers must wear a life jacket or personal flotation device (PFD) at all times.

Have a paddle to propel the vehicle if the engine stops, and to back the vehicle up.

Most models have a built-in bilge pump. Test this pump to make sure it’s in working order. You should always have a bailing can on board, even with a bilge pump installed.

Preparing to Enter the Water

Look around the vehicle, checking the hull for signs of tears and damage that can let water in. Inspect the outer bearing flanges and gaskets on the ends of the axles. If these parts are damaged or they don’t have enough grease, they can let water enter the axles and hull.

Your XTV has two drains located on the bottom rear of the hull, each with its own permanently attached drain plug. These plugs need to be threaded into the holes before entering the water. Check the O-rings on the plugs to make sure they’re in good condition. Once the vehicle is back out of the water, unscrew the plugs to let any remaining water drain out of the hull.

Unfasten all safety belts so you and your passengers can make a quick escape if the vehicle capsizes.

Entering the Water

Approach the water from a gradual slope that is free from rocks, branches and other obstacles that could damage the hull. If you have to enter from a steep slope, and aren’t heavily loaded, back into the water. The vehicle weighs more up front due to the engine and transmission, so putting the lighter rear end in first will help it float without tipping. The bumper must stay above the waterline to keep water from entering the grille and other openings on the top of your XTV’s body.

Once the vehicle is in the water, but still touching the ground, check for leaks. If you spot any, drive back onto the shore and correct the problem.

Driving in Water

Apply partial throttle to get the vehicle moving. Top speed is limited to the maximum paddling ability of the tire treads, so using full throttle will increase turbulence without increasing speed. The treads will only push the vehicle forward. If you need to back up, put the transmission in neutral and use the paddle to maneuver. Steering still works as it does on land, as the outside wheels will paddle faster when the handlebar is turned.

Avoid submerged obstacles to avoid damaging the hull. If water starts entering the cabin, get back on land immediately.

Using an Outboard Motor

An outboard motor under 10 HP can be attached to your XTV using Argo’s mounting bracket accessory. Argo recommends using a long shaft motor to avoid problems with cavitation.

Driving Back Onto Shore

Look for a flat, obstacle-free area and line up the vehicle so that both front tires reach the ground at the same time. Drive onto the land slowly until all wheels are supported, then resume normal land operation.

For Everything Argo, Go to Shank’s Argo

Shank’s is one of the largest dealers of Argos in the East, providing the support you need to get the most out of these unique vehicles. If you’re looking to buy an Argo XTV, need to have your vehicle serviced, or want to add tracks and other accessories, come see us. We’re located at 4900 Molly Pitcher Highway, Chambersburg, PA.
To learn more or schedule a test drive, visit us online at

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