May 31, 2006
New Patrol Vessel Launched
Last Friday's heavy morning mist didn't dampen the spirits of Southold Town officials who gathered to christen a brand-new, 27-foot World Cat police patrol vessel that will help the Southold Town Police department provide enhanced, year round marine presence around Plum Island.
Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell joined Southold Town Police Captain Martin Flatley and Chief Carlisle Cochran for a spin off The Old Barge in Southold.
The new vessel is meant to beef up the STPD's patrols of the Plum Island Disease Research Center, off the coast of Orient Point. It was purchased with a $50,000 grant as part of the United States Office of Homeland Security's Buffer Zone Protection Plan. The police department applied for the grant in 2005.
The new World Cat symbolizes strong community spirit demonstrated by the Southold Marine Center, a local merchant who stepped up to work with World Cat Boat Manufacturing to provide the town with the vessel at the $50,000 price tag.
Not only did Southold Marine and World Cat work to bring the boat's original $80,000 price down, but also the brand new boat was delivered for free, with discounted electronic work donated by Lighthouse Marine Electronics, Inc. in Greenport, according to Flatley.
The vessel, said Cochran, is ideal for bay constables on a rescue mission, for whom time is of the essence. Made to handle rough waters and inclement weather, the World Cat "takes the bounce out" of the ride, he said. "It can go 30 knots without getting beat up and can go through waves."
Senior bay constable Don Dzenkowski helmed the maiden voyage and demonstrated a GPS system that allows for accurate navigation even in dense fog.
The new vessel is actually the town's second World Cat. The town purchased the first one from Southold Marine in 1999, according to Gia Heeg of Southold Marine.
Heeg explained that another cost-cutting measure for the new purchase was achieved by "engine swapping." Barely used engines were taken from existing boats for use on the new patrol vessel. New four-stroke engines burn less gas and are more cost-efficient, Cochran added.
Heeg said her company was pleased to facilitate the purchase at a price the town could afford via the grant: "If they are going to be trying to protect us, we want them to take care of them and make sure that they're safe and warm and comfortable," she said.
In fact, one feature of the new vessel is an enclosed area under which the bay constable can stand in poor weather.
Cochran said that once a third bay constable is hired, they will increase marine patrols. Russell has said that the third bay constable will be largely responsible for code enforcement on area waters.
In addition, the patrol vessels will continue to be used for dive operations and rescues.
The combined efforts of all involved ensured that the new vessel was purchased and outfitted in time for this year's upcoming boating season.