Gulf Coast Ducks are navigating new waters this summer

Melanie LeCroy
Posted 6/24/20

Mobile based Gulf Coast Ducks are navigating new waters this summer and making a splash in Cotton Bayou.

Established in 2016 in Mobile, Gulf Coast Ducks operates restored World War II-era DUKW …

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Gulf Coast Ducks are navigating new waters this summer

Posted

Mobile based Gulf Coast Ducks are navigating new waters this summer and making a splash in Cotton Bayou.

Established in 2016 in Mobile, Gulf Coast Ducks operates restored World War II-era DUKW boats that were built in the early 1940’s and used to transport troops and supplies to the beaches of Normandy on D-Day. 

According to an article on History.com, “the name “DUKW” corresponded to General Motors’ manufacturing code (“D” is “1942 model,” “U” is “amphibious,” “K” is “all-wheel drive,” and “W” is “dual rear wheels”). Soldiers simplified this by calling them “ducks.”

Guest won’t be storming the beaches of Orange Beach but will enjoy an hour-long land and water tour that begins at the Caribe Marina and travels across the Perdido Pass Bridge and down Beach Boulevard. The tour guide gives guests a local history lesson, points out local attractions that shouldn’t be missed on the way to Cotton Bayou boat launch.

Once the boat launches into Cotton Bayou, guest keep their eye out for local wildlife. So far guests have seen dolphins, fish and a variety of birds. The water portion of the tour lasts approximately 30 minutes. The tour guide speaks on native wildlife, conservation and Orange Beach’s start as a fishing village. The boat exits the water at the Cotton Bayou boat launch and wraps up at Caribe Marina.

If you are looking for a unique way to take in one of Orange Beach’s breathtaking sunsets the Gulf Coast Ducks operate a Sunset Tour as well.

Each Duck Boat is operated by a licensed captain who also holds a commercial driver’s license. Tour guides are certified Coast Guard deckhands and undergo Coast Guard water training, CPR and first aid and drug screening.

“Safety is our No. 1 priority and it always has been. We undergo rigorous Coast Guard regulations and the boats are monitored regularly with Coast Guard inspections,” said Kate Pearson, business development director.

There are lifejackets on board for all passengers: adult, children and infants. Lifejackets are not required unless the captain instructs passengers to put them on, however, if guests feel more comfortable they can put one on at any time.

The threat of weather is always a possibility on the Gulf Coast especially during the summer. Weather is taken very seriously and is monitored constantly by the captains and the office. If there is lightning anywhere within three miles of the duck, the boat will not operate. If there is any severe weather or storms, small craft advisory, currents or wind advisory the tours are canceled or rescheduled.

Each ticket purchased has a 48-hour cancellation window. If Gulf Coast Ducks must cancel a tour due to weather, you can be rescheduled for another tour or receive a full refund. They also offer a cancellation protection plan which provides the ability to cancel up to five minutes before your tour for a full refund minus a five percent cancellation fee.

“We have limited boat capacity from 35 to 20 so everyone can maintain a safe distance on the boat. Families and groups reserved together can sit together and then we space a few seats in between groups,” Pearson said.

The captain and tour guide sanitize each boat between tours to ensure the safety of guests.

“So far it has been great and we have been very pleased. Of course, we are a new concept to Orange Beach so it’s going to take some time for the community to get to know us but we have been very pleased with ticket sales. Everybody that has been on the tour has been very pleased. We are training some new tour guides and settling into our new groove. We are just really excited about what the future holds.”

Ticket prices range from $31 to $3 depending on age and tour. For more information or to purchase tickets visit gulfcoastducks.com.