Louisianan Clint Angelle knows something about shallow water. Indeed, hunting and fishing in the state often require extreme shoal draft to move through vegetation, stumps, and all sorts of muck. In some places, one might have to, as country music legend Hank Williams sings, “pole a pirogue down the bayou.” Angelle was thinking of recreation in Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin when he set out to invent a drive system that could not be stopped by physical obstruction or overheating. The result of his investigations of other systems led him to a surface-piercing drive and “full self-contained, patent-pending, onboard keel cooling system.” It’s called the Swamp Shark Drive.
Watching Clint Angelle was Jimmy Gravois, founder and chairman of Louisiana boatbuilder Metal Shark, who saw opportunities to adapt the technology to fulfill requirements of his military customers.
According to a Metal Shark press release, “The Swamp Shark propulsion system consists of several key components: a CNC-cut, machined-steel surface drive, internal/external stabilizing hydraulics, and a specialized internal cooling system, all of completely original design.”
Swamp Shark drives are currently available in configurations capable of handling up to 550 hp (413 kW) and 1,250 ft-lb (1,695 Nm) of torque, all while operating in extreme conditions.
The specially designed outdrive with custom cavitation plate features hydraulic-power trim and steering. Its stainless steel surface-piercing propeller powers through mats of vegetation, bushes, and branches, while offering outstanding control on open water, even at high speed.
The press release also states, “A patented hydraulic/electric rebound system, which consists of actuators inside and outside of the vessel, allows the drive to smoothly and automatically adapt to conditions. When the drive impacts a solid object, such as a log, stump, or other submerged hazard, it swiftly ‘kicks up’ so that the propeller will not be impacted. The system then exerts reverse pressure to instantaneously return the drive to its normal trim position as soon as the object has been cleared.”
Metal Shark, 6814 E. Admiral Doyle Dr., Jeanerette, LA 70544 USA, tel. 337–364–0777, website www.metalsharkboats.com.