Barnegat Police Announces Launching of Marine Safety Unit

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BARNEGAT, NJ – Summer is heating up, and visitors and locals are taking to the water. In response, the Barnegat Police Department has announced the formation of a police marine response and safety unit.

“With the explosion of recreational boaters and the ever-increasing popularity of the Barnegat bayfront, the need for waterborne resources and response options increases by the day. While the New Jersey State Police and Ocean County Sheriff’s Department have waterborne resources available through mutual aid, their response times are based on availability and call volume,” the department said. “The Marine Unit was recognized as a need during the build-out of the BTPD modernization plan, however, budget constraints made starting a unit cost-prohibitive.”

The Barnegat Police Department explained how the unit came to fruition:

Challenged by Chief Germain with finding a solution to one of the few remaining unrealized goals of the agency’s multi-year modernization plan, agency command staff set out to problem solve within the constraints of our budget.

Support Services Division Commander Jeff Ryan spearheaded the project and started by procuring a surplus boat (2014 Carolina Skiff 218) and trailer from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection at no cost.

While that was a great start, the boat needed a lot of TLC and equipment to get her in shape for duty. With an incredible outpouring of support from local businesses and community groups as well as the support of other Barnegat Township municipal departments, we were able to get the boat outfitted and equipped with virtually no impact on the agency budget.

It was truly a community effort to get the new marine unit seaborne.

The engine and hull maintenance required to get the boat up to snuff was completed by members of the Barnegat Department of Public Works with a huge effort by DPW employee Derek Kadlubowski. Coastal Sign & Design of West Creek donated the hull wrap. The decals were printed and affixed by Barnegat DPW (special thanks to Charlie Coopie from DPW). The Rotary Club of Barnegat donated the GPS/Chartplotters. Sherer’s Boat Basin, INC. of Barnegat donated the VHF and FM Marine antennas. Mariner’s Marina of Barnegat donated a slip for the boat. TowBoatUS Barnegat Light & Beach Haven donated an Unlimited Gold Towing Membership.

Their second boat, a 2012 Defender 14′ inflatable skiff with trailer, was donated by Barnegat Volunteer Fire Company Station 11, who no longer had an organizational need for the boat.

“The Marine Unit augments our capabilities by allowing us a greater ability to respond to life-threatening situations, crimes, and quality of life complaints in and around the bay and waterways in our jurisdiction. Select Barnegat officers received training from the New Jersey State Police Marine Unit in preparation for the unit’s launch,” the department said.

Chief Germain applauded all of the effort and generosity that went into making the Marine Unit a reality.

“This all started with Lieutenant Ryan accepting the challenge and leveraging his professional network and abilities to drive this project forward,” said Chief Germain. “Add to that the hard work from DPW, the generosity of Barnegat Rotary and our local businesses, and the support of the Township Committee and we’ve shown that you can make the improbable possible.”

Photo Credit: Sgt. Vincent Damiano