Tisbury selectmen unanimously authorized town administrator Jay Grande to enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Massachusetts Environmental Police for the loan of a 25-foot Parker brand boat.
“We’re in debt to the Environmental Police for making this opportunity available to us,” Grande told the board. “I want to thank John Crocker, our harbormaster, for his initiative and steadfastness and persistence on getting this to a place where I can bring it before you today.”
Grande also thanked Fire Chief John Schilling and Police Chief Mark Saloio for participating in the vessel search.
Tisbury has been without a harbor patrol boat since the “Rock Salt” sank at the Owen Park Dock in October. Initially, it was a mystery why the boat sank, but a marine surveyor eventually determined the sinking stemmed from an unsecured hatch and an overwhelmed bilge. The $265,000 boat was funded by a FEMA grant and delivered in 2011. Initially dubbed “Hold Fast,” by former Harbormaster Jay Wilbur, the firefighting equipment aboard the vessel proved dysfunctional and frustrated some town officials. The town declared the boat a total insurance loss after it sank.
The Environmental Police boat is on loan from March 20 to Sept. 30.
Grande told the board the harbormaster is eager for “harbor patrol capacity.” He added it was his understanding the boat is “fitted out and ready to serve.”
Selectmen chair Melinda Loberg expressed concern the town might have to choose whether to extend the loan in the middle of the tourist season.
By then, Grande said, “I think we’ll know more about our procurement of the new vessel.” He added he was optimistic an extension of the loan was doable, if need be.
Asked by The Times if the loaner boat has firefighting capability or will have it, Loberg said, “The loaner does not, I’m hearing from our fire chief.” She went on to say, “When we eventually replace the patrol boat, that may be a different story.”
“Or it may not,” Selectman Jim Rogers said.
“[T]he insurance company says we have to get a boat that’s just like one [lost],” Loberg said.