U.S. Coast Guard crews at Station South Padre Island have completed the qualification and trial run process, Tuesday, for the new 45-foot-Response Boat-Medium that was delivered to the station in late February.
The training focused on acclimating the crews to the boat's advanced response capabilities. With twin diesel engines using water-jet propulsion, the RB-M can respond faster than previous boats of similar size and has a top speed in excess of 40 knots.
It has advanced search capability with an installed forward-looking infrared search technology. Additionally, with twin jet propulsion, the vessel is extremely maneuverable and is better suited to respond to mariners in distress and law enforcement operations.
The boat has a deep-V, double-chine hull, which provides a balance of performance and stability. It can handle heavy seas and waves up to 12 feet. If it capsizes due to rough weather, the boat is designed to right itself.
“We are excited for this new asset and the capability it brings to improve our operations and response time,” said Lt. Josh Sagers, commanding officer of Station South Padre Island.
“Our South Texas maritime area continues to be exploited for poaching and narcotics smuggling,” said Cmdr. Daniel Deptula, the chief of response at Sector Corpus Christi. “Collectively, this asset will give us a new advantage against these illegal activities, enhance the security of the port and upgrade our ability to help boaters in distress."
“I thank the brave men and women of the United States Coast Guard for their dedication to protect our nation’s maritime interests and am pleased the Coast Guard recently deployed the Response Boat-Medium, a high performance, 45 foot boat,” said Congressman Filemon Vela. “The new boats will be used by the Coast Guard during Operation Sea Serpent—a multi-agency effort to stop illicit activity along our maritime borders—and will provide a safe and reliable vessel for members of the Coast Guard to conduct their mission.”
Operation Sea Serpent has yielded three foreign fishing vessel seizures, 16 arrests and the recovery of 5,400 yards of illegal long line fishing gear.
The RB-M is being added to Station South Padre Island's current asset complement, consisting of three 33-foot-Law Enforcement Special Purpose Class boats, and will be replacing the station's 41-foot-Utility Boat.