This narrative is intended to address some concerns recently raised by residents in an online discussion about our patrol boat.
Our Zodiac LE2400 patrol vessel was acquired new in 2013. It is a rigid inflatable boat (RIB), which means that it has an inflatable tube that surrounds the fiberglass hull. We chose this design after careful and thorough review of multiple options made specifically for law enforcement use. The Zodiac RIB platform is extremely popular in this line of work because it is less likely to result in injury or damage during encounters with other boats on the water. It is also easier to get into the boat because the inflatable tube (with grab ropes) is actually at the water line.
Our vessel is and always has been equipped with every piece of safety equipment mandated by law and by agency policy. Due to the low freeboard, a ladder is not required. Since we have had this boat in operation, we have never had any concerns raised about people having difficulty getting into the boat until Marine Patrol Officer Ross sent an email to his supervisor on 5/19/21 describing a recent rescue where an exhausted person could not climb into the boat. Since then, staff has been researching and evaluating options priced anywhere from $50 to $750. A selection will be made, and the necessary hardware will be ordered when the unit supervisor returns from an out of state trip later this week.
The eight-year-old patrol boat is not due for replacement for another 2-5 years. While we replace patrol cars every 3-5 years, the operational lifespan is typically longer for watercraft. Not only is the daily use much less, but it is easier and less costly to update worn parts on a boat. For example, our vessel has had both the motor and the inflatable tube replaced during its time in service. New, updated electronics were ordered last month, and are expected to be installed in the coming weeks. The current annual budget for fuel and maintenance of the police boat is $15,500, and we have the ability to request additional funding if there are any unforeseen major expenses.