The City of St. Augustine reported to Historic City News that the city police department has outfitted a new, powerful patrol and rescue boat – courtesy of criminals.
St. Augustine City Manager Bill Harriss calls it “one of the most satisfying public-private partnerships.” The funds to purchase the new police marine vessel came from assets that were seized from criminals over the last several years.
The 24 foot Nautica, specifically designed for rescue and recovery operations, features a bow ramp that lowers into the water to assist with the rescue and recovery of victims.
“She’ll be dedicated to the memory of Leo C. Chase, Jr.; the first St. Augustine resident to die in the Vietnam War”, Harriss said.
The St. Augustine Marine Unit was started by the city in 2002 with the purchase of a 20 foot Mako — the first “Leo C. Chase”. The unit was manned on a part-time basis with funding from the St. Augustine Port, Waterway and Beach District.
In the first seven years of operation, the marine unit has overseen the removal of some 66 derelict or abandoned vessels, rescued 19 survivors and recovered four deceased victims of maritime accidents.