Brown County transforms surplus Navy vessel into patrol boat

BROWN COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - A boat obtained from the U.S. Navy will patrol parts of the Fox River and the Bay of Green Bay.

The Brown County Sheriff's Office received the 25-foot boat through the federal 1033 Program. It allows law enforcement to obtain military surplus equipment for free.

The agency need only pay for transportation and repair costs.

The Sheriff's Office says that amounts to big savings for local taxpayers. It cost about $5,000 to fix up the boat. That's compared to roughly $200,000 the vessel cost the U.S. Military.

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College students and a citizen helped with the new paint job, decals and canopy. They transformed the vessel into the marine unit's second patrol boat.

"It was definitely an upgrade," says Sgt. Randy Lind, BCSO Marine Unit.

The boat will be used to patrol the waters during a busy Labor Day weekend.

Sgt. Karl Lau says the department's main boat is preferred in rougher waters and during rescue missions.

Lau believes the new vessel will be of use in specific areas where waters are less deep.

"There's shallow water ways out in the Bay where larger boats cannot get to, so we have to have the smaller boat," Lau says. "There is still some shallow areas when you get into Suamico River area, Long Tail and Ship Yard Marina. It's very shallow waters. Grassy Island area."