Monday, April 07, 2008
The Coast Guard will have a new tool at its disposal for search and rescue missions starting Monday when it unveils its first "Response Boat-Medium" in Virginia Beach. The 45-foot boat will make its debut at the Coast Guard Station at Little Creek. But it may not be an entirely new sight to those who ply the waters of Hampton Roads. After the craft underwent builders' trials in Tacoma, Wash., last February, it was brought here in April for developmental testing and evaluation at Fort Monroe.The Coast Guard describes the vessel as "multi-mission capable" and expects it to operate in coastal zones, including inshore and inland waterways, as well as open waters of the ocean out to about 50 nautical miles. It will most routinely operate in shallow waters, however. It is intended to be able to respond rapidly to any Coast Guard mission on very short notice and will conduct patrols and training. The boat will replace the Coast Guard's 41-foot utility boat which has been the workhorse of Coast Guard coastal stations for more than 25 years.