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Enchanting lagoons, multiple waterways, and a thriving aquaculture make Arcachon Bay a hub for both tourism and transport on the southwest coast of France. But if channels and marinas become silted and clogged, it all grinds to a halt. So, the key to local economy is the work of companies like Curages Dragages Et Systèmes (CDES), in Lezancy, which keeps the access channels and marinas clear. To keep up, CDES continuously expands its vast and varied fleet, including its latest addition: a small, mobile John Deere–powered steel push boat.

CDES restores and maintains rivers, canals, and river beds throughout France, using suction dredgers, floating excavators, trucks and tractors, barges, push boats, and more. The newest push boat is used to assist in dredging: It measures 6 meters long by 3 meters wide (19.5 by 9.8 feet), weighs 9 metric tons (9.9 U.S. tons), has a 1.2-meter (3.9-foot)draft, and pushes 250 metric tons (276 U.S. tons).

CDES approached Atelier Fluvial, in Saint-Usage near Dijon, to design and build the boat to its specific requirements, including push-knee fenders and two hydraulic capstan rope winches. To support their activities around the country, they requested a hydraulic, tiltable wheelhouse to enable easier transportation of the push boat by truck.

Tough boat, tough power

Atelier Fluvial builds, services, and repairs boats of all shapes and sizes, including work barges, pushers, tugs, luxury cruisers, theatre boats, and even floating hotels.

"We handle complete builds from the hull and superstructure down to the mechanics, electrical wiring, boilers, and fishing or diving equipment. And we have a dedicated service team to troubleshoot any problems our customers may have throughout France. "Philippe Gerbet, Managing Director.

Atelier Fluvial selected a John Deere PowerTech™ 6068AFM75 Tier 2/Stage II engine for the push boat. “We like John Deere for push boats because they are extremely tough and reliable, yet easy to service,” Gerbet continues.

The engine delivers 170 kW (230 hp) at 2400 rpm — more than enough for the Hydro-Armor hydrostatic HD2400 propulsion system. It also powers a large hydraulic pump on a gear-driven auxiliary drive that runs the movement and tilting of the wheelhouse.

"Naturally, as a John Deere dealer, we have built up a lot of experience in maximizing engine performance. We also know that, with every application, the John Deere engine distributor in France, NPS Diesel SAS, is readily available for questions and hands-on support." concludes Gerbert.

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