09/15/2011: "$325K For New PW Boat"
(SJC contributed photo from Munson Boats)
San Juan County’s Public Works Department took delivery of a new boat this month to replace two older boats.
Public Works staff member Mike Copas is responsible for County’s equipment and motor pool, and reports the two older boats have required a combined total of more than $300,000 in replacement parts and labor since 1993-94. The purchase of the new boat was authorized by the County Council.
The purchase will enable PW to retire two aging boats and, for the first time, give it the capacity to carry its own materials and even small vehicles, heavy tools and pieces of equipment to projects on the outer islands and allow beach landings and off-loading from the bow of the boat.
The new 35 foot craft, built by Munson Boats of Burlington, has 18 feet of clear deck space, a drop front gate and a small crane. “The three boats Public Works had before this acquisition are all 20 footers, designed as pleasure craft, not work boats,” said County Administrator Pete Rose. “And the old boats had become unreliable and expensive to maintain.”
Acting Public Works Director Russ Harvey (Related Story) reported the new boat will be used primarily to ferry crews and equipment to major projects and for dock and buoy maintenance on the outer islands.
“Until now,” Harvey said, “we have not had the capacity to carry even deck planking to repair sites on outer islands. That’s often meant we had to wait until we could piggyback on someone else’s barge load.”
County Administrator Rose compared the acquisition of the boat to the County’s decision to update its fleet of trucks with so-called “hook-lift trucks” which can be quickly reconfigured for tasks ranging from hauling to sanding and snow plowing. “They’ve allowed us to do a lot more with fewer people and to have less equipment to maintain. Given the County’s shrinking financial resources, inefficiency is not an option.” Rose said.
The new boat has not yet been named. We assume there will be suggestions from the public, but the final decision for a name will be left up to Public Works.