Old Lyme seeks replacement fire/police boat

Old Lyme — The town's public safety officials are proposing a replacement boat for patrols and search and rescue missions, since the existing vessel is reaching the end of its useful life.

The boat, used by the police and fire departments, has a waterlogged transom, porous fuel tanks, and batteries and wiring that are becoming unsafe after extensive exposure to the outdoors, Old Lyme Fire Chief Tom Risom told selectmen on Monday.

The Fire Department requires a boat with searchlights, floodlights, radar, and a navigation system for all-weather search and rescue missions, according to Monday's presentation by members of the Fire Department.

The town's Police Department would use the boat for patrolling areas of Long Island Sound and the Connecticut River.

Old Lyme Emergency Medical Services requires a vessel in cases in which it needs to provide medical assistance on the water. The Harbor Commission does not specifically require the boat, but would possibly use it to inspect moorings, according to the presentation.

The proposed replacement boat, a 25-foot Safeboat Defender Rescue Platform, would cost about $200,000. The town's 2015-16 budget already has $85,000 set aside for the purchase.

First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder said the next step is for the proposal to go before the Board of Finance for its consideration.

She said town would entertain potentially holding a special town meeting in February for residents to vote on the proposal. The town could alternatively decide to set aside funds in upcoming budgets.

Risom said the users of the boat would develop a memorandum of understanding to work out maintenance and planning for the vessel.

k.drelich@theday.com

Twitter: @KimberlyDrelich

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