Coast Guard Station Brant Point has added a new shallow-water response boat that is unlike any other vessel at its disposal.
The new 27-foot response boat is equipped with an inboard jet drive powered by a Yanmar 350 horsepower diesel engine. It's small, nimble, fast, and will allow the Coast Guard to access just about anywhere in the inshore waters of Nantucket.
"It's a different way of driving a boat," said Station Brant Point master chief Lance Wiser. "It's more like driving a jetski or something. It drafts less than 15 inches, so we can go in some shallow water with this boat."
The vessel, which the Coast Guard is rolling out to some of its stations this year, will replace the existing 24-foot shallow-water response boat that features outboard engines.
"That one's older and pretty beat up," Wiser said. But it will remain on-island and in use until the members of Coast Guard Station Brant Point are fully trained and certified to use the new vessel.
The station's two existing 47-foot motor life boats, which it uses for offshore responses and in heavy seas, will also remain in use.
The new shallow-water response boat is "mainly an inshore boat. It's got a range of 150 nautical miles, but it's a shallow draft, so it doesn't take sea conditions much more than flat calm offshore. We'll use this in the harbor, and I'd say on the north shore or if we need to get into Madaket or something. But it's not our primary offshore response vessel."