The St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office in Hudson, Wis., took delivery of a 24′ custom-built rigid hull inflatable boat (RIB) in time to serve during this summer’s active July 4th holiday weekend.
The new boat, built by Lake Assault Boats in Superior, Wis., enhances the sheriff’s patrol capabilities and water-based emergency rescue operations on a 27-mile stretch of the St. Croix River, a National Scenic Riverway.
“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,” Deputy Chase DuRand of the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement announcing the delivery. “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.”
Lake Assault’s 24′ craft features an overall height less than 13’6″ and a person and cargo capacity of 3,000 lbs. It is able to operate in as little as 21″ 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 hull is protected by a full protective collar around the gunwales, and also features a T-top pilothouse with 76″ of headroom. The dash console provides ample room for electronics and includes a 16″ touchscreen that integrates a forward looking infrared (FLIR) system, GPS, maps, chart plotter, and sonar with structure and side scan.
The purchase process of the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office in acquiring the custom-built RIB involved a two-year search.
The vessel will be in high demand throughout the boating season. “We conduct patrols, enforce recreational boating laws, and respond to accidents, disturbances, medical emergencies, and disabled boats,” DuRand stated. “We also operate joint patrols and assist other agencies — including the Minnesota and Wisconsin DNRs — 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.”