FWC presents renovated offshore vessel to public
Monday, December 13, 2010
Media contact: Katie Purcell, 850-459-6585
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission (FWC) hosted an open house Dec. 10 at the Carrabelle
City Marina for guests to see the newly renovated Gulf Sentry, an
85-foot, aluminum vessel.
The vessel was ceremonially christened on Aug. 17
in Dania Beach and recently arrived in Carrabelle for duty. The
vessel and its captain, Lt. Scott Pearce, will patrol the waters of
the Gulf of Mexico, focusing on resource protection, public safety
and boating-regulation enforcement.
Members of the Franklin County community attended
the open house, as did numerous law enforcement officials, retired
captains Early Whaley and Richard Miller, who captained the vessel
before its renovations, and members of the media.
After a brief ceremony, guests received a tour of
the vessel and were taken for a ride.
"While the captain and crew for this vessel are FWC
staff," Col. Jim Brown, director of the FWC's Division of Law
Enforcement, said at the ceremony, "she truly belongs to all of the
people of the state of Florida."
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 as the JJ Brown, 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 boat, now named the
Gulf Sentry, 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. They also 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,"
Brown said. "She is now environmentally friendly and perfectly
equipped for patrolling Florida's waters and protecting its
valuable natural resources and people."
From its port in Carrabelle, the vessel will
operate primarily between St. Marks and Pensacola, out to 200 miles
The Gulf Sentry is one of the FWC's Heavy Endurance
Class offshore patrol vessels, 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 - resource
protection, public safety and boating-regulation enforcement,"
Brown said. "Additionally, the 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," he said.