County commission will consider sheriff’s requests for boat repairs

May 14, 2013

LUDINGTON – The Mason County Board of Commissioners is expected to take action this morning on the purchase of new boat motors for the Mason County Sheriff’s Office’s marine patrol boats.

“The state of our patrol boats is dismal,” Sheriff Kim Cole wrote to Mason County Administrator Fabian Knizacky in a Feb. 15, 2013 memo. “Currently we have one working boat and that is a 15-foot boat designed for small inland lakes and rivers. The weight capacity of this boat is so low that it is impractical for any operation except one man patrol. This boat is not safe to take into the larger lakes such as Hamlin, Pere Marquette or Ford.

“The boat normally used for patrol, dive operations and other functions on Lake Michigan is not functioning. Both engines need to be replaced. Repairs have been done over the past few years and none of them have resolved the problems. The remaining option is replacing both engines with new, 4-stroke Mercury engines.”

Cole said the department currently has a donated ridged hull inflatable 22-foot boat that has been used on Hamlin Lake and the other larger lakes. The boat is in need of “substantial engine repairs and has an air leak in one chamber. This boat is non-functional without the engine repairs.”

The outboard motor on the department’s 14-foot boat will not lock down making the craft unusable as well.

Because of the state of the boats, the sheriff’s office entered into a mutual aid agreement with Riverton and Hamlin townships and the City of Ludington to use their emergency boats during emergencies.

The estimated repairs on the ridged hull inflatable is $8, 200 while the estimated cost to replace the two engines on the larger Boston Whaler is $21,890.

The outboard motor for the 14-foot Smoker Craft boat is estimated to cost $4,340.

Sheriff Cole is also seeking permission to sell a 2007 Yamaha 150 horsepower boat motor. The motor was used on the 22-foot boat that was sold at auction last year. The sheriff, in a memo, said the motor cannot be used on any of the department’s current boats. Lakeshore Motor Sports of Ludington has offered to handle the sale of the motor, Cole said.’

The suggested list price of the motor is between $4,200 to $4,900. Lakeshore Motor Sports will charge a 7 percent commission on the sale.

If approved, Cole has requested the proceeds be placed in the capital fund account for the sheriff marine boats.

The county’s finance committee has recommended the county commission approve the sheriff’s requests.

The county commission meets at 9 a.m. on the second floor of the courthouse.

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