FWC christens renovated offshore vessel
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Media contact: Jorge Pino, 561-723-1417
It once sailed the Florida seas as the JJ Brown.
Today, Aug. 17, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission's (FWC) 85-foot, aluminum vessel was christened the Gulf
Appropriately named, the vessel and its captain,
Lt. Scott Pearce, will patrol the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
The Gulf Sentry was originally manufactured in 1968
for the U.S. Air Force and was used as a missile-retriever until
1994. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
used it next and eventually loaned the vessel to the FWC, which
performed federal fisheries enforcement and search-and-rescue
missions with it for the next 14 years.
After many years of service, the vessel needed
extensive repairs to remain operational. In 2008 the vessel
was fully transferred to the FWC, and Joint Enforcement Agreement
funding was acquired for a major overhaul.
The restoration project was awarded to the
Derecktor of Florida shipyard in Dania. The Gulf Sentry now
has a new bottom, engines, electrical and plumbing work, berthing
area, galley and improved pilot house. There are also numerous
"green" features incorporated into the new design. These include
C32 ACERT engines that meet tier-two emission regulations, meaning
they produce no smoke and have better fuel economy, and they
feature air-driven hydraulic systems, which prevent potential loss
of oils. Recycled materials were used in construction of cabin
interiors; a fuel-fill system was designed to eliminate fuel spills
during fill-ups; and the shaft angles, rudders and bottom were
redesigned to increase efficiency.
"The vessel has undergone a complete renovation,"
said Col. Jim Brown, director of the FWC's Division of Law
Enforcement. "She is now environmentally friendly and perfectly
equipped for patrolling Florida's waters and protecting its
valuable natural resources and people."
The vessel will operate primarily in the northern
Gulf of Mexico between St. Marks and Pensacola, out to 200 miles
The Gulf Sentry is one of the FWC's Heavy Endurance
Class offshore patrol vessels. The vessels are capable of extended
patrol in offshore areas during varying weather conditions. They
range from 50 to 85 feet in length and have unique berthing,
support facilities and equipment to enable them to operate on
multi-day missions without returning to port.
"These vessels aid in our core missions - in
particular, resource protection and public safety," Brown said.
"Additionally, these vessels and their crews provide the state with
a valuable service, as they are often the only law enforcement
asset on patrol in offshore waters."