The jobs done by tractors are widely varied. Some do road work while others work on farms and even more perform lawn and pasture maintenance. Since their capabilities include so many things, it has become unsurprising to see tractors in places you may have previously not expected to see them.
One such place is the beach. The first time I saw a tractor on the beach, I will admit I was a little baffled. With tractors previously defined in my mind as farm machinery, seeing one on the beach was news to me. Of course, I had just moved from Las Vegas, Nevada to a southern beach town located on the Gulf of Mexico so tractors were not something I was well versed in at the time.
Since moving to a beach town, seeing tractors on the beach does not pique my curiosity much anymore. I know they are used to smooth sand and handle erosion problems by replacing lost sand. I expect to see them especially after high winds. What I did not expect was the work they were able to do after a disaster such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Once Katrina had come and gone, having her way with the Gulf Coast, a huge mess was left. There was so much debris left on the beach that it was impossible in some places to see the sand beneath it. The debris was extremely varied as well; the items on the beach were abnormal at best.
Hurricanes, especially large ones, have a way of doing a number on homes and properties where they make landfall. On our beach was everything from books to Buicks and toilets to Toyotas. It seemed so desperate and hopeless, like nothing would ever be the same again. In time, however the beach was restored, thanks to beach tractors and other heavy equipment that worked hand in hand with those tractors.
Another source of unbelievable damage to the beach was the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in 2010. Some areas were hit worse than others, but one thing remained the same, and that was oil making landfall in places it never should have. Yet again tractors answered the clean up call. In some cases they moved and disposed of severely oiled sand and in others they operated filtration devices designed to remove oil particles from sand by sorting.
There is farmland not far from the beaches of the place I now call home and tractors are very much a part of life as I know it. Having the beach nearby has served as quite a lesson in machinery versatility. What has also been impressive is the feats those machines can accomplish. Our beaches, littered and destroyed, were saved by tractors not once but twice in five years. While it is nice to be hopeful that disaster will not strike again, knowing better is part of life on the water, but so is knowing there are tractors and components out there waiting to save the day by taking storm debris away.