The city added another tool in its arsenal to provide enhanced safety for its residents when it commissioned a new 2016 Ranger single engine boat to patrol the waters around Marco Island, its bays and canals.
The new boat was purchased utilizing the City’s “pay as you go,” Capital Improvement/ Replacement Plan, which is often referred to as the “Bucket Plan.” That plan was devised by City Manager Roger Hernstadt in an effort to reserve funding for necessary capital expenditures without having to borrow the monies or make substantial increases in operating costs.
“When I first came to the city the police department had to reach out for donations to purchase ballistic vests to protect their officers; that just isn’t right. We appreciated the wonderful efforts of the Marco Island Police Foundation to help supply some of those critically needed items in the short-term, but these officers shouldn’t have to beg for the tools to do their jobs,” said Hernstadt as he addressed the gathering to christen the new boat and thanked the Rose Marina staff for their efforts to help outfit and prepare the boat for service.
The boat itself will be housed at the Caxambas Boat Ramp at the south end of the island, while the larger Donzi 28-foot boat will be housed at the Rose Marco River Marina on Bald Eagle Drive. “We are proud to offer the city a place at no charge to keep the larger boat here at our marina,” said Dan High, general manager of the facility.
“This new pieceof equipment will help us do a better job of patrolling in the shallower waters found around the island and in some of the interior bays,” said Police Chief Al Schettino. The city presently has two fulltime marine officers who will utilize both boats, in addition to the newly donated Gibbs Quadski Amphibian All Terrain Unit housed at the Residents Beach, in addition to a Yamaha Personal Watercraft that is utilized during special events and holiday weekends.
Rev. Duong Nguyen of the San Marco Catholic Church added some levity to the event when he hoisted the Catholic Book of Blessings. “We in the Catholic Church have a blessing for every occasion, even a boat,” said Rev. Nguyen as Chief Schettino would steady the book as Rev. Nguyen read the verses and sprinkled Holy Water on the new vessel.
“We live on an island with over a 100 miles of canals, bays and shorelines. This equipment will help to provide the protection for us all and provide our officers with the proper equipment to do their job,” said Council Chairman Bob Brown as he addressed the attendees.
The City Manager and Chief Schettino went on to praise the excellent working relationship with the local Sail and Power Squadron, along with the Coast Guard Auxiliary in their roles in helping to educate the public on boating safety.
It was a smiling Reverend Nguyen who donned a personal flotation device and took a quick ride around the marina basin with Marine Officer Josh Ferris and Chief Schettino after the new boat was lowered into the water.