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The Assumption Parish Sheriff’s Office recently bought this 20-foot “duck boat,” as seen in an undated photograph, with a special kind of outboard motor that extends out to allow for travel in shallow water. The boat is being used for rescues and patrols.

If you're stuck in a mud flat or find yourself too deep in the shallows of the Assumption Parish swamps, sheriff's deputies have a new rescue tool to pull you free.

Sheriff Leland Falcon recently purchased and outfitted a new 20-foot "duck boat" with a motor known as a "gator tail."

The motor is critical for the shallow-bottomed boat's mission because the outboard engine extends out — instead of straight down — to allow the boat to travel in low water. 

“We were lacking a suitable vessel for these purposes and attaining this particular boat allows us to get into waters that our larger units cannot access”, Falcon said in a statement.

Lonny Cavalier, sheriff's spokesman, said the department has a fleet of four boats already but they were often too big for the canals that finger out from Lake Verret and Belle River, especially when water is low.

Deputies are also called to the Atchafalaya Basin for rescues and help boaters hung up in mud flats through the parish. 

In all, the locally manufactured boat, motor, emergency lights, sheriff's decals, trailer and other accoutrements cost the Sheriff's Office an estimated $17,000, according to the Sheriff's Office.

In addition to patrolling, the boat has already gotten used for rescue calls, including in Bayou Lafourche, Cavalier said. The bayou isn't in the Lake Verret basin, but runs the length of the eastern side of the parish from Belle Rose to Labadieville and beyond.


Email David J. Mitchell at dmitchell@theadvocate.com

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