New Coast Guard vessel promises to give Mathews station faster response times
A state-of-the-art 45-foot vessel accepted by Coast Guard personnel last Thursday is expected to cut response times in half for search and rescue missions and other emergencies throughout the region, according to BMC David Dickinson, officer in charge of the Mathews County station.
The new Response Boat-Medium replaces the station’s aging 41-foot utility boat that served as the facility’s primary vessel.
The RB-M actually arrived in Mathews County on Jan. 14, but wasn’t signed over until Thursday morning following a final inspection. It sat in a neighboring dock at Morningstar Marinas until it was ceremoniously driven the last couple of hundred yards to the USCG dock, allowing crew members their first chance to board her.
The most important feature of the new vessel is its speed. The RB-M’s twin diesel engines with waterjet propulsion allow the boat to reach speeds of 42.5 knots. The current utility boat has a maximum speed of 23 knots. So, instead of taking an hour to reach the Eastern Shore, the new vessel can make it there in about 30 minutes. And, with waterjets instead of propellers, there’s no longer a worry about the props getting tangled with crab pot lines or interfering with rescue attempts.