Bigger, better, faster
SOUTH JETTY The Coast Guard station in Port Aransas will be only the sixth one in the nation to obtain a certain kind of new boat that features greater speed and higher technology than its predecessor.
The $1.8 million vessel, known in Coast Guard parlance as a "response boat-medium," arrived at the Dennis Dreyer Municipal Marina on Monday, Jan. 12. After some work on its fuel system, it was expected to move across the harbor, to the Coast Guard station, within a few days, said Douglas Gemar, a training petty officer at the station.
The 45-foot boat replaces a 41-foot response boat that's about 30 years old, Gemar said.
The new vessel has a cruising speed of more than 40 knots, while the old one went only a little more than 25 knots, Gemar said.
The new boat also is equipped with technology known as Forward Looking Infrared, or FLIR. Gazing at computer screens, those on board can use the FLIR equipment to see objects ahead of the boat in the dark of night.
The boat, which normally carries a crew of four, will be used for search-and-rescue missions, law enforcement and homeland security, Gemar said.
The new boat has a distinctive look, with a shiny, unpainted aluminum hull. The old boat was painted white. The new boat's hull also is trimmed with orange padding, called "fendering," to protect the boat when it bumps into objects.
A second 45-foot response boat-medium is expected to arrive at the Port Aransas Coast Guard station this summer to replace another 41-footer, Gemar said.
In addition to the 45-foot boats, the Port Aransas station has three 25-foot Homeland Security boats.
Earlier this month, the Port Aransas Coast Guard station received a new 24-foot shallowwater response boat. The vessel is being tested to see how well it works in this area, Gemar said. It might end up staying in Port Aransas, replacing an 18-foot vessel, or it might be transferred elsewhere, he said.