The newest addition to Suffolk County’s war on terrorism was christened Thursday during a ceremony in Hampton Bays and the $1.2 million marine asset is already saving lives, Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent F. DeMarco said.
With the smash of a bottle of champagne on Aug. 22, Marine 41 – a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive response vessel – was officially declared ready for service. Although the Thursday ceremony may have been the official welcoming of the massive boat, officials said it was already used in numerous operations, including one that saved a man stranded at sea.
The vessel was first procured on Feb. 23 by the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office for use by the East End Marine Task Force, a collaboration of 18 local police agencies on Long Island’s East End.
“It’s for everything. [It has] massive capabilities,” Chief Ed Michels, the commander of the East End Marine Task Force said after the ceremony. “I don’t think there’s any other [similar boat] with these capabilities for at least 100 miles.”
“It can do radiological detection. It can do hazmat detection. It has a firefighting system on board. It has forward looking infrared,” he said. “If we’re looking for you with that unit, it’s better for you.”
Sgt. John Anderjack, the commanding officer of the Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol said the vessel has the capability to search the ocean floor. “We can see underneath the water to the bottom if we need to,” he said.
Marine 41 is equipped with infrared cameras, side scan sonar, radar, chart plotters and a dual screen GPS, the Sheriff’s Office said. A computer is installed on the vessel, which provides access to DMV data and other law enforcement databases and the cabin is equipped with oxygen, a defibrillator, EMT equipment and can accommodate a patient on a backboard.
In addition to the more than $100,000 in equipment on board, the boat also is capable of shooting massive water streams from the front and back. The firefighting system can pump up to 2,000 gallons of water per minute, Anderjack said.
A jet propulsion system on the boat allows the officers to use the vessel in less than three feet of water, if they need to. “It’s going to provide response capabilities for natural and man-made disasters,” Capt. Edward Cubanski, the commander for Coast Guard Section Long Island Sound said during a Thursday press conference.
Cubanski said the vessel has already taken part in Operation Dry Water, a collaborative enforcement initiative that targets boating while intoxicated.
Marine 41 was recently used in July during a search and rescue operation for John Aldridge, a commercial fisherman who fell off his boat near Montauk Point. He was rescued after eight hours at sea by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Aldridge was in attendance at the ceremony on Thursday.