State grant helps sheriff refurbish boating fleet
“Frankly gentlemen, as we move through the winter, we’ll have the pride of the north state as it relates to our boating vessels come May when we open up Eagle Lake,” Sheriff’s Commander John Mineau told the Board of Supervisors recently.
The board approved receipt of the miscellaneous equipment grant from the California Department of Boating and Waterways at its Tuesday, Oct. 17 meeting. It also authorized County Administrative Officer John Ketelsen to sign the grant contract and increased the state boating revenue line in the sheriff’s department budget.
Last year, the department received a $17,500 grant from boating and waterways to put a new motor and jet drive in Eagle 2, a 1993 Design Concepts 23-foot enforcement and safety vessel. In February, Sheriff Steve Warren told the board Eagle 2 was the boat with the worst motor but in the best overall working condition.
Warren said the new boat motor is a jet and impeller system with a built-in weed eater so that when the patrol must move into the shallows, the deputies don’t have to constantly unplug it. He said it clears itself.
It was in full service before Eagle Lake opened for fishing on Memorial Day weekend. The department then planned to buy a new 23-foot boat to replace Eagle 1.
“We were so happy with the re-power job on Eagle 2,” Mineau told the board earlier this month. “That coupled with when we looked at the funds that would be available for a new vessel — which would have been $60,000 — there was just no way we could get a vessel of that caliber for that kind of money.”
The heavy aluminum, 23-foot boats have an enclosed cabin. To keep the second boat, the department went back to boating and waterways and asked to change the grant.
“Instead of a grant to replace the vessel, could we get a grant simply to refurbish all of the existing equipment?” Mineau said. “We were awarded that in the amount of $50,000.”
The money allows the department to re-power Eagle 1 with a brand new motor and new jet.
“And it would be like new, like the same thing we experienced with Eagle 2 last year,” Mineau said. “It would allow us to repaint all three of the vessels, update the electronics. We’re looking at chart plotters and surface radar units and those kinds of things that are certainly very nice to have when you’re out, whether it’s dark, whether it’s stormy, snowy, anytime in inclement weather.”
The board unanimously approved the grant.
“I think it’s pretty interesting how boating and waterways, in the contract on two occasions, they had to put in caps, italicized and underlined, ‘Do not take apart the contract.’”
“They’re serious about that Mr. Chapman,” Mineau said. “We don’t take them apart.”
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