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A storm was in the forecast, but it wasn’t supposed to become a category-3 hurricane, and you never actually expected the resulting flood to reach your second-floor windows.

While we often talk about bug-out bags, survival knives and how to start a fire with a bow and drill, how many of us really give a thought to alternate means of transportation … other than the ubiquitous 4×4 SUV?

If you live in a low-lying area that has even the slightest chance of flooding, you might want to include something other than wheels in your survival strategy. Perhaps the ideal watercraft for this mission is one of the boat/motor combinations from Gator-Tail.

About Gator-Tail

Gator-Tail boats and motors have proven themselves effective in evacuation and rescue operations during flooding disasters for over a dozen years.

Gator-Tail boats and motors have proven themselves effective in evacuation and rescue operations during flooding disasters for over a dozen years.

Kyle Broussard started Gator-Tail in 2002. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Broussard studied mechanical engineering at the University of Louisiana and worked as an outboard mechanic during the summers, so creating Gator-Tail was a natural.

The company’s first outboard motor came to the market in 2004. It was originally intended for the hunting and fishing market.

Gator-Tail products are designed by the company’s own engineers and are built using the latest technology entirely at the company’s Loreauville, Louisiana, facilities. A key feature of Gator-Tail motors is the belt drive system, which is similar to those used on some motorcycles.

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Gator-Tail boats are used extensively … for evacuation and rescue operations during floods caused by the aftermath of hurricanes and other natural disasters.

“It’s one of the most reliable ways to transfer energy in a mechanism,” Broussard said. “We back our motors with a lifetime belt warranty. The bottom line is that the belts do not break.”

However, most importantly is that Gator-Tail boats and motors were designed for use in shallow, murky bayou waters. This concept translates well to preppers’ needs because, many times, they’re the only boats that can make it through debris-strewn floodwaters.

“Basically, this boat will get you where nothing else will,” said Broussard. “Before the authorities can get to you, these boats are bringing you to dry land. They’ll run in straight mud. Most outboard motors have to be cooled with water—they’re water-cooled engines. They’re re-circulating the water that you’re riding in. So, if there’s any debris (trash, litter, plastic bags, anything that’ll wrap around the intake), it will stop the motor from cooling and will burn the engine.”

According to Broussard, larger debris—shrubs and fences—can also stop a conventional outboard motor, making it difficult, if not impossible, to navigate through flooded-out neighborhoods.

“Our machine is meant to run in mud and logs. Debris will not faze it,” he said.

Gator-Tail products were first aimed at outdoorsman for hunting and fishing. However, they soon proved themselves to be invaluable emergency rescue tools during floods.

Gator-Tail products were first aimed at outdoorsman for hunting and fishing. However, they soon proved themselves to be invaluable emergency rescue tools during floods.

In survival situations, that’s important, and reports on the effectiveness of these boats is spreading far and wide. Gator-Tail boats are used extensively now across the country by law enforcement, military units and private citizens for evacuation and rescue operations during floods caused by the aftermath of hurricanes and other natural disasters.

“These boats have been used after every major storm in the last 10 years,” Broussard pointed out. “In the last storm in Louisiana, Baton Rouge had hundreds of these boats running in the flood.”

Because Gator-Tail products have proven their worth in true emergency conditions, the company has grown quickly.

“We started with just two employees in a very small corner of our facility,” he explained. “Now, we’re up to 40 employees. We operate out of two buildings—a fabrication shop and a manufacturing and assembly shop, as well. So, we’ve grown tremendously over the last 12 years.”

“Before the authorities can get to you, these boats are bringing you to dry land. They’ll run in straight mud.”

Another important point for those considering a boat for emergency preparedness is that a Gator-Tail boat takes up less room than, say, an air boat.

“It’s small enough so that it can be put in everyone’s garage,” Broussard pointed out. “And it’s a mode of transportation that’s very, very reliable.”

So, while you’re sitting on your roof awaiting rescue, ask yourself why you didn’t look into Gator-Tail sooner.

 

Here are just some of Gator-Tail’s stormproof products:

Gator Series Boats

The Gator Series is the company’s basic boat, but it can be outfitted with a number of handy add-ons.

The Gator Series is the company’s basic boat, but it can be outfitted with a number of handy add-ons.

“The Gator Series is our down-and-dirty basic model,” Broussard said.

It is also the company’s most affordable. It’s available in widths of 60 and 70 inches and lengths of 18 and 20 feet. You can opt for the basic boat and then customize it by ordering such optional features as extended or folding decks, various rails, a polling platform and console steering kit.

You can also order one of the selected packages such as the example below.

Gator Series Package 2

1648 Gator Series Boat

  • Brown paint
  • Full floor with no gutters
  • 21-inch side height
  • 21-inch transom
  • 4-foot deck with pedestal base
  • Removable gun box
  • Trolling motor bracket
  • Rotary-molded 20-quart K2 cooler
  • Rear driver’s stand-up grab bar
  • Battery and battery box
  • 6-gallon gas tank
  • Automatic bilge pump
  • LED navigation lights
  • Motor: GTR25L HP big-block Vanguard (reverse model) with tall transom, power trim and tachometer
  • Trailer: 18-foot galvanized trailer with 13-inch wheels, side guides, spare tire and LED lights
  • Package price: $14,099

 

Extreme Series Boats

The stepped hull design of the Extreme Series boats makes them especially easy to control during high-speed sharp turns.

The stepped hull design of the Extreme Series boats makes them especially easy to control during high-speed sharp turns.

This is Gator-Tail’s flagship model. It offers superior handling through sharp turns, thanks to the stepped chine hull design. It, too, is available as a basic boat with several add-on features to suit your needs or as a package such as the one below.

Extreme Series Package 4

1848 Extreme Series Boat

  • Brown paint
  • Hunt deck
  • Front hatch
  • Full floor with no gutters
  • 21-inch side height
  • 21-inch transom
  • 4-foot deck with pedestal base
  • Trolling motor bracket
  • Rotary-molded 20-quart K2 cooler
  • Rear driver’s stand-up grab bar
  • Battery and battery box
  • 6-gallon gas tank
  • Automatic bilge pump
  • LED navigation lights
  • Motor: GTR37HP Vanguard (reverse model) with power trim and tachometer. Color: Gator Grass Camo
  • Trailer: 18-foot galvanized trailer with 13-inch wheels, side guides, spare tire and LED lights
  • Price: $17,040

 

XL Series Boats

The XL Series is intended for those who need the additional power that’s offered with the twin 37 hp motors.

The XL Series is intended for those who need the additional power that’s offered with the twin 37 hp motors.

When you need the extra power, the Gator-Tail XL Series of boats might be right for you. Each of these boats is equipped with twin 37 hp engines with electronic fuel injection. It’s available in widths of 60 and 72 inches and lengths of 18 and 20 feet. Various deck and rail options are available, along with a flat or pointed bow and a drop-deck transom.

Twin 37 hp, fuel-injected engines power Gator-Tail’s XL Series boats. The motors are designed to get you through mud, logs and all manner of debris-clogged waters.

Twin 37 hp, fuel-injected engines power Gator-Tail’s XL Series boats. The motors are designed to get you through mud, logs and all manner of debris-clogged waters.

Features of the XL Series Basic Boat include:

  • One-piece .125-inch 5086 aluminum hull (3/16-inch thickness available)
  • 2×2¾-inch custom extruded longitudinal ribs
  • .100-inch deck and floor
  • Full floor; no gutters
  • 24-inch side height
  • 21-inch transom
  • 6-inch 6061T6 channel for transom
  • Heavy-duty gunwale rail
  • Stainless steel rivets for subfloor
  • 4-foot deck with pedestal base
  • Under-deck storage
  • Trolling motor bracket
  • Self-draining deck
  • Stern lifting side crimp
  • Price: $35,000
Motors

GTR 35 HP Motor

Gator-Tail’s 35 hp motor with carburetor is the original product that the company brought to the market. It has proved to be very effective and reliable, even in the worst conditions.

Gator-Tail’s 35 hp motor with carburetor is the original product that the company brought to the market. It has proved to be very effective and reliable, even in the worst conditions.

This is the original carbureted workhorse outboard motor in the Gator-Tail stable. It is a belt-driven engine that has proven itself reliable in all sorts of adverse conditions for over a decade.

This motor includes the following features:

  • 993cc big-block CDI 35 hp Vanguard marine engine
  • 20- to 50-amp charging system
  • Tachometer/hour meter
  • 4,750 rpm high-rev coils to protect against over-revving
  • Stainless steel muffler
  • Easy-access control box with start, trim, kill and gear—all on the tiller arm
  • Smooth-ride tiller with vibration-reducing bushing
  • Insulated metal squeeze throttle
  • Waterproof, heavy-duty trim switch
  • Integrated free-floating tiller for safety and control, sitting or standing
  • 5,000 ft./lbs. power trim actuator
  • Planetary reverse transmission
  • 2,000-HR electronic clutch
  • Dual pivot-point trim impact system allows engine to kick up on impact
  • Three-blade, stainless steel weedless propeller
  • Cone-shaped lower unit with weedless profile and separate lube chambers
  • Reverse plate for maximum thrust with minimum splashback
  • Three-year warranty with lifetime belt warranty
  • Weight: 275 pounds
  • Price: $7,645

 

GTR 37 HP EFI Motor 

This is Gator-Tail’s newest outboard motor with electronic fuel injection and 37 hp. Two of these powerhouses are used on the company’s XL Series boats.

Gator-Tail’s 37 hp outboard motor features electronic fuel injection.

Gator-Tail’s 37 hp outboard motor features electronic fuel injection.

Features include:

  • 993cc big-block CDI 35 hp Vanguard marine engine
  • 20- to 50-amp charging system
  • Tachometer/hour meter
  • 4,750 rpm high-rev coils to protect against over-revving
  • Stainless steel muffler
  • Easy-access control box with start, trim, kill and gear, all on the tiller arm
  • Smooth-ride tiller with vibration-reducing bushing
  • Insulated metal squeeze throttle
  • Waterproof, heavy-duty trim switch
  • Integrated free-floating tiller for safety and control, sitting or standing
  • 5,000 ft./lbs. power trim actuator
  • Planetary reverse transmission
  • 2,000-HR electronic clutch
  • Dual pivot-point trim impact system allows engine to kick up on impact
  • Three-blade stainless steel weedless propeller
  • Cone-shaped lower unit with weedless profile and separate lube chambers
  • Reverse plate for maximum thrust with minimum splashback
  • Three-year warranty with lifetime belt warranty
  • Weight: 275 pounds
  • Price: $8,145 

 

Contact Information

Gator-Tail

(337) 229-4864

www.Gator-Tail.com

 

Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the March 2017 print issue of American Survival Guide.