The Story
The year was 1982 and 2-D (two-dimensional) seismographic technology was the hot and newest
technique being used to locate oil and gas. Geophysicists along with their drill rigs, geophones and
computers were traversing both land and water in the petroleum belt to locate what lied beneath the
Earth's surface. Typically, the offshore exploration using this technology would require chartering
vessels, which were available and near the proximity of the work site. Often, this entailed the use of
fishing type vessels, which were designed for the harvest of commercial fisheries. In South
Louisiana, one such owner of this type of vessel was Ernie Geraci, (president-Shallow Draft
Elevating Boats, Inc.) who's boat the Princess Amanda was well known by the seismic crews for its
speed and handling. Ernie had designed and built this vessel which was by far one of the most
advanced of its' type using hydraulics and technology to mechanize the harvesting process.
Consequently, the Princess Amanda was constantly under charter by the seismic crews. One day
while on a charter in Mobile Bay, the tides were running hard, the wind was blowing and performing
the seismic drilling work in such conditions became unsafe and the work was halted. The weather
was a huge determining factor in the area of productivity, as drilling work could only be performed
when the vessel was held steady in calm seas. This type of interruption was occurring frequently
and this prompted Ernie to start thinking of a vessel design suited for this type of drilling work. He
discussed his ideas and new concept with the seismic crews who became excited and urged him to
build the vessel. Without a contract or financial backing Ernie's entrepreneurial spirit kicked into
high gear and he set about building the first prototype Shallow Draft Elevating Boat. His idea was to
build a vessel that would be self propelled and provide a stable and safe platform over the water
where crews could perform their drilling work regardless of the tides, wind and wave action. This
design would minimize the downtime that the crews were experiencing. Shortly thereafter Ernie had
completed construction of the vessel and it was put to the test. The seismic crews mounted their
drilling units and went to work. They were amazed at the stability the new vessel provided and the
speed with which it placed itself into position, no more anchors, moorings or lashings. Now they
simply drove up to the location of the drill site and elevated the legs and got to work. The Shallow
Draft Elevating Boat provided its' customers with a significant edge over their competition and
geologist could have their drilling performed over the water safely with speed and accuracy. This
new vessel quickly became the vessel of choice in the offshore seismograph work and is used all
over the world today in that industry.
Ernie has spent the last 10 years improving the design of the vessel and incorporating modifications
making the vessel even more productive. The Shallow Draft Elevating Boat is constructed of steel
and has 3 elevating vertical legs, which elevate the hull out of the water eliminating effects of wind,
waves and tides. Since it is self-propelled there is no need for costly tugboats or licensed captains
and with its simplistic design practically anyone can operate it. The reliable Detroit Diesel engine
provides for the self-propulsion as well as the on-board hydraulics used to elevate the hull. For
those environmentally concerned, the hull includes a tunnel drive design leaving the water bottoms
virtually undisturbed. Shallow water is not a problem any more, the vessel is designed to carry a
deck load of 9,000 pounds and draw a total of 18 inches of water with full maneuverability. The legs
provide the capability of elevating the hull out of water as deep as 45 feet to handle deeper River and
channel applications. If the waterways to the job site are not navigable, then again the Shallow Draft
Elevating Boat may be the answer. The vessel is launched from practically any location and is
mobile in extremely shallow depths. "SHALLOW DRAFT DELIVERS" - Shallow Draft has designed
the vessel to be transportable, delivered on a common flat bed trailer, it is shipped to your site,
assembled and launched by the Shallow Draft Crew and made ready for you to go to work. Our
customers have used man lifts, generators, excavators, cranes, drilling rigs, sand blasting and
painting equipment on the deck of this workhorse.
Ernie Geraci is presently designing several new hull types to provide greater and more varied
capabilities, if your project requires adaptation, call SHALLOW DRAFT today.
Let Shallow Draft Elevating Boats be YOUR HIGHWAY ABOVE THE WATER. Contact us for
additional information or free DVD
. (504) 682-2100.