With our island community’s 53 miles of rugged shoreline, the BIPD’s Marine Services Unit is a critical component of public safety. Our primary vessel is a well-equipped 33-foot SAFE Boat powered by triple 250 horsepower Mercury Verado engines and capable of carrying 18 passengers. The vessel, referred to as M8, features high definition imaging sonar, radar, a chart plotter, an encrypted Automatic Identification System, a micro-ROV (remotely operated vehicle), radiation detection equipment, 2 VHF radios, collision and depth alarms, and an on-board computer with thermal imaging capability. The vessel and its crew operate with several core missions in mind; namely search and rescue, vessel assistance, recreational boating enforcement, environmental response, and assistance to other agencies such as the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S Coast Guard, Washington State Ferries and the Department of Homeland Security. The vessel primarily conducts operations in the jurisdictional waters surrounding Bainbridge Island, but occasionally leaves the immediate area when emergency assistance is requested by other agencies.
The department’s second boat, referred to as M11, was added to the fleet in 2016. An 18-foot vessel with a single outboard motor, M11 is significantly smaller and more easily maneuverable than M8, and perfect for conducting in-harbor operations such as boating safety checks, boater education, and boater assistance as well as enforcement of the island’s three “No-Wake” Zones (Eagle Harbor, Port Madison, Manzanita Bay). With just a 5 person capacity, the vessel can easily be launched at primitive sites, and trailered with just a pickup truck. The vessel also provides a mechanism for the City’s harbormaster to communicate with the liveaboard community, address derelict vessels, and investigate environmental complaints. M11 will also be outfitted in 2016 with a power hauler to extract derelict fishing gear from the water, which cannot be conducted aboard M8 without damaging its collar.