Border Patrol boat can glide over inches of water

YUMA, Ariz. – Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents like Tomas Diaz patrol the waters along the U.S. Mexico border 7 days a week, 365 days per year, no matter the elements.

“Shallow waters, sandbars, gravel, every once and a while submerged objects, logs,” Diaz said.

Now, they have a new tool to help them maneuver around whatever the Colorado throws their way, a boat — a riverine shallow draft vessel.

“It can run in shallow waters as shallow as 4 inches of shallow water,” Diaz told us.

Diaz told explains how.

“It has a poly-plastic and a slide pad underneath that allows it to slide over gravel and shallow water and things like that, and it doesn’t have a propeller to hit, so it’s pretty incredible what it can do.”

They took it for a spin Wednesday morning, showing us the dangerous waters that are no problem for the boat and its propeller-less diesel engine. Diaz said those features could come in handy during an emergency.

“People come down kayaking, paddle boarding, canoeing, swimming, and fishing, and quite often we get calls out for rescues,” he said. “We had to improvise in the past; we’re always able to respond but now we can get there faster and safer.”

Vessel commander Jeff Scott said the very first day agents were able use the boat, they helped two stranded fisherman.

“We encountered a vessel at the Imperial Dam that had lost its motor; it wouldn’t start anymore. We hooked it up to a tow and towed it back to the ramp, because they were pinned up against the dam,” Scott explained.

Yuma Sector Border Patrol plans to receive three more of these vessels within the next three years.

About The Author

Eduardo Santiago joined the FOX 9 and ABC 5 news team in February, 2012. That’s the same year KECY launched its very first local newscast. He has been covering local news in Yuma and the Imperial Valley since his start as a KYMA photojournalist in 2006. During his decade in broadcasting, Eduardo has covered some of the biggest stories in the Desert Southwest – from President Bush’s visit to Yuma, Ariz. to the uncovering of drug tunnels that span the US-Mexico border. One of the most memorable stories Eduardo covered was the 2010 Easter Earthquake that rocked the Imperial Valley, Mexicali, and Yuma. Eduardo, along with his news team, won an award from the Associated Press for best coverage of an ongoing story following the quake. Before he made his move to TV, Eduardo was just a kid born in East Los Angeles, where he spent his early childhood. His parents moved him to Mexicali, B.C. Mexico, where he did most of his elementary school education. He finally landed in El Centro, where he graduated from Central Union High School in 2005. Eduardo is currently a student at Imperial Valley College. You can find Eduardo hanging out in the Imperial Valley and Yuma with his family on any given weekend. His off-screen passion is playing guitar and sports.

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