Chelan County is looking to keep its busiest water vessel running with an overhaul and refurbishment. 

Its boat, known as Marine 2, was purchased in 1997 and has been confirmed by its manufacturer, Safe Boats, as the longest serving boat the company ever made. 

Chelan County Sheriff Mike Morrison says they've done well to keep the boat in running condition, but it's beginning to wear down. 

“We have started to run into an issue where the sirens aren’t working at times, the lights are intermittent, the radio has issues,” said Morrison. “So, it’s just starting to show its age.” 

The county is looking to invest in an intensive overhaul of Marine 2, which is the primary vessel used to patrol busy Lake Chelan. The lake is a major tourist destination in the summer months. 

Morrison said refurbishing the boat will cost far less than the $350,000 price tag to replace it. 

He discussed the plan with Chelan County commissioners Tuesday, noting the boat plays a key role in their water operations. 

"Marine 2, which is our primary vessel that we use to patrol Lake Chelan, does get the most usage out of all our vessels," Morrison. "It's something that we wanted to get to working on, because we don't want to have the same issues with shortages on the lights and other issues that we've had with it." 

Under the plan, the city of Chelan would use lodging tax dollars to pay for roughly two-thirds of the cost to overhaul the boat, with the county supplying the balance. Chelan would supply $100,000 for the overhaul, with the county being responsible for $56,156.12 of the $156,156.12 total. 

Morrison said there were no other funding sources available now. 

He said their other boats, Marine 1 and Marine 3, had also experienced some problems, including Marine 1 having an engine failure twice in the past couple of years. Morrison said Marine 1 was purchased in 2002 for roughly $400,000. 

Morrison said they would like to get Marine 2 overhauled after the boating season ends this fall. Safe Boats, the vessel’s manufacturer, would need three months to perform the refurbishment. 

Chelan County's Marine Patrol has been a major success story in the past couple of years.  

It rose from being on probation to being recognized as one of the top three performing Marine Patrol operations in the state last year. 

Being on probation meant funding for the marine program was in jeopardy from Washington State Parks, which oversees and implements Washington's Recreational Boating Safety Program.   

The marine patrol landed on probation because of a lack of activity, as in the number of contacts with boaters on waterways.  

Deputy Garrett Churchill runs the sheriff's office marine patrol program.  He and his direct superior, Sgt. Rob Huddleston, are credited with bringing the program back.  

Churchill was named Washington State Parks Recreational Boating Safety Marine Law Enforcement Officer of the Year in 2023. 

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