Tisbury harbormaster takes delivery of new $250,000 patrol vessel

Harbormaster Jay Wilbur tested the maneuverability of the new patrol boat in Vineyard Haven Harbor Tuesday. — Photo by Steve Myrick

Vineyard Haven Harbormaster Jay Wilbur took the helm of Tisbury’s new patrol boat this week, putting the 34-foot vessel through its paces in Island waters before it is officially put into service.

Cruising through choppy waters just outside the harbor, at speeds approaching 40 knots, Mr. Wilbur told a Times reporter he was very pleased with the boat’s performance. Including, the twin 250 horsepower outboard motors that were quiet enough to allow normal volume conversation at the helm.

The boat arrived by trailer Monday from a Texas boatyard. The federal Department of Homeland Security funded the vessel through a $265,306 grant. The aluminum boat was designed with security, law enforcement, rescue, and firefighting capabilities. It will be the only boat in the harbor capable of responding to a fire.

It also has features for more mundane tasks such as patrolling, towing, and mooring maintenance. As for a name? “I’ve pretty much decided on Hold Fast,” Mr. Wilbur said.

Hold Fast was the name of a seafarer’s group formed about 1920, and based at the Seamen’s Bethel once located on the Vineyard Haven waterfront. He said the name Hold Fast represents spirituality, steadiness, and safety. He expects the new boat will carry on a long tradition of providing service for boaters in Vineyard Haven Harbor.