The St. Croix County Sheriff's Office in Wisconsin took delivery of a custom-built Lake Assault Boats rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) that enhances the Office's patrol capabilities and water-based emergency rescue operations on a 27-mile stretch of the St. Croix River.
"Our stretch of the St. Croix River is a heavily used recreational area, with many cabin cruisers, houseboats, and all types of pleasure craft while, further north, the National Park we cover is very popular with kayakers and other silent sports enthusiasts," said Deputy Chase DuRand. "There are lots of islands and beaches, and 10 marinas, as well as many full-time residents who live along this portion of the river."
The 24-foot craft features an overall height less than 13 feet, 6 inches, a person and cargo capacity of 3,000 lbs., and the ability to operate in as little as 21 inches of water for easier access to shallow areas. The boat is outfitted with a bow-to-beach access door and ladder located at the front "V" of the bow.
"The fold down bow door will make deploying officers onto islands much more efficient," said DuRand. "It's an idea we brought to Lake Assault and they were very willing to accommodate our request."
The vessel is expected to be in high demand throughout boating season, for conducting patrols, enforcing recreational boating laws, and responding to accidents, disturbances, medical emergencies, and disabled boats.
"We also operate joint patrols and assist other agencies — including the Minnesota and Wisconsin [Departments of Natural Resources] — and Minnesota's Washington County Sheriff's Office. Moreover, because this craft is larger and has a far better work platform than the boat it replaced, we can deploy our entire Emergency Response Unit in the event of higher threat situations," DuRand said.
The hull is protected by a full protective collar around the gunwales and also features a T-top pilothouse with 76 inches of headroom. The dash console provides ample room for electronics and includes a 16-inch touchscreen that integrates a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) system, GPS, maps, chart plotter, and sonar with structure and side scan.
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