Oregon State Marine Board grant and trade-in options shore up water patrols

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - At the time the new boats were ordered, the Sheriffs Office had no functioning boats, all of them were hand-me-downs, said Marvin Hee. The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office has traded in its fleet of five patrol boats and replaced them with two new, high-powered boats.

Columbia County traded the five old boats for a value of $56,500 and received state boater funds from the State Marine Board in the amount of $90,000 to pay for the new boats, which totaled $146,000.

The old boats ranged in age from 17 years to 26 years old. The average age of the current Marine Board boat fleet statewide is 15 years. The newer models will require less fuel and maintenance.

One of the boats is a 21-foot-long walkthrough aluminum jet boat equipped with a 6-liter, fuel-injected engine that produces low carbon emissions and is highly fuel efficient. The boat’s jet-propulsion system allows for operation in a water depth of only 6 inches at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour with a full load. The boat is ideal for varying water levels and will allow marine deputies to respond to emergency situations more quickly.

“The jet boat is the first in the state purchased within a new program,” said Marvin Hee, Waterways Coordinator for the Marine Board. “It has reinforced hulls of basically half an inch on the bottom and 3-inch stiffeners running up side. It’s very strongly built and it has a lifetime warranty.”

The county will also receive a 25-foot offshore Alumaweld equipped with two 150 horsepower outboard motors and a full electronics system for emergency response in harsh weather conditions and low visibility.

“The Alumaweld is rated for high winds and waves,” Hee said.

Hee added that the Alumaweld is equipped with an infrared imaging system. “The system alone cost $60,000 dollars,” he said.

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