The Vanguard

The Mighty Ducks of Mobile

Photo courtesy of Gulf Coast Ducks.

Photo courtesy of Gulf Coast Ducks.

William Chandler, Contributing Writer

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The 2017 hurricane season was a particularly rough one for the south, especially for the residents of Texas. Hurricane Harvey was potentially the most damaging hurricane of this season and one of the worst to strike at Houston, Texas in living memory.  Harvey left Houston devastated with floods, entire homes utterly destroyed and left many Texans stranded. However, Texas would not have to stand alone in their recovery efforts. Neighboring states, universities including the University of South Alabama and businesses throughout the south made way with relief efforts.. One such business, Gulf Coast Ducks, answered the call to aid in the Houston relief effort.

Gulf Coast Ducks first opened its doors and its boats in the summer of 2016, and since then they have become a beloved part of the Mobile community. The primary staples of the Gulf Coast Ducks are their reformatted 32-foot-long, 12-foot-tall and six-wheeled World War II-era vehicles that can take to the land or sea. These unique amphibious vehicles provide tours of Mobile’s rich culture and interesting past.

However, when word reached Mobile of the full devastation left in the wake of the hurricane, the Gulf Coast Ducks sprang into action. On Tuesday, August 29 the three duck boats were loaded onto three eighteen-wheeler trailers with Gulf Coast Ducks’ co-founder Scott Tindle and six crew members in tow.

Not since World War II had the duck boats had such an urgent mission. Their objective was to team up with Fresenius Kidney Care to transport the injured and rescued Texans from their homes or evacuation zones to one of the many dialysis centers in Houston.

The trek to Houston was particularly long, and the crew encountered aftermath from the storm. They  ultimately reached Houston, Texas within 12 hours.

The Gulf Coast Ducks teamed up with Fresenius Kidney Care when they got their. The care group coordinated with the duck boats and their patients for transportation. Gulf Coast Ducks wanted to be sure that they wouldn’t be a hinderance to the recovery and relief efforts, but the 35-seated amphibious vehicles were a welcomed sight to dialysis patients.

If anything, they were the ideal means of transportation for a flooded Houston. After Harvey, the city experienced 15-20 inches of flood, which left the city at a standstill. The duck boats, however, had no issue.  The vehicles can drive through roughly five inches of water before transforming into the boats that Mobile has grown to love. With Houston becoming an amalgamation of dry and flooded zones over the course of the two weeks of the duck boats’ service, they were more than prepared for anything.

After their brief two week “tour” of service in Houston, the duck boats returned home to the city of Mobile. Despite suffering a few minor damages from their generous service, mainly hitting submerged fire hydrants and debris, the duck boats were back up and running tours by the middle of September.

Due South EIC: Sara Boone

Contact: [email protected]

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