The Virgin Island Department of Planning and Natural Resources/Police has placed in active service its first aluminum catamaran, manufactured using patented-protected technology, by Mission Marine, Ltd., in Sandusky, Ohio. The boat is based at the DPNR/Police facility in St. Thomas. The Mission 338 (29’7” x 11’5”) has the capability for extended offshore patrol and is a multi-agency craft that serves a variety of missions including DPNR, Police/Law Enforcement, Fisheries, SAR, Homeland Security, Drug Enforcement, and Port Security.
What makes this catamaran unique is its rough water capabilities for use offshore; its wide beam and advanced design affords extra stability and ride. This Mission 338 also has the added feature of a hydraulic patent-pending bow ramp and is powered by twin Mecury Verado 275HP outboards, which give it excellent shallow water capabilities. Mission Marine, Ltd. personally delivered the vessel and provided a one-day on-water training session.
Even though the boat is a law enforcement vessel, because it is a catamaran, many recreational boaters turned out to take a closer look at it. The islanders are astute boaters and are aware of any new trends coming into the islands. One recreational boater commented, “I can smell a new boat on the island.” Another said that he was glad to see that the Islands have a vessel with offshore capabilities for emergency rescues.
At one time, aluminum catamaran high speed ferries were only seen in Australia and New Zealand
but now are seen world-wide. This technology has now come to patrol vessels; will the trend follow? Mission Marine, with its patented and patent-pending technologies and advanced, complex catamaran hull design, is leading the way.