An added layer of protection has been provided to the Gippsland coastal and lakes region with a state-of-the-art $2.2 million jet-powered boat joining the Gippsland water police fleet.
Electronic features include infra-red imaging equipment, radar and side-scan sonar which are used during search and rescue operations, particularly in darkness or poor light.
It can carry up to six personnel for short patrols or four personnel during longer operations.
The vessel, ‘VP09’, was officially handed over today by the Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull, who said the acquisition had provided the region with a valuable resource.
“Whether performing general police duties, helping our local fishing boats, passing yachts or bigger vessels that get in to trouble, or taking part in a major search and rescue operation, Gippsland’s water police play a vital role,” Mr Bull said.
“This new high-speed boat will provide Gippsland’s water police with even greater capacity to perform their critical work.”
The 14.9-metre vessel is an aluminium catamaran which can cruise at 32 knots (nearly 60 km/hour) and has a range of up to 600 nautical miles (nearly 1,100km)
Fitted with jets rather than propellers, it can operate in shallow water making it ideal for Gippsland’s lakes and rivers.
The new vessel will help the Paynesville-based water police unit, whose area stretches from Inverloch to Gabo Island on the NSW border, improve its search and rescue capacity and response times in the area.
“Any time of the day or night, the water police can be called out to assist those experiencing trouble on the water,” Mr Bull said.
“Now, with the acquisition of VP-09, Victoria Police’s ability to serve the Gippsland coastal and lakes region has greatly improved.
“The Victorian Coalition Government has a clear law and order agenda and is on target to deliver 1,700 additional police by November this year, investing $602 million.
“The purchase of this vessel is another step in support of the Coalition Government’s law and order agenda to build a better and safer Victoria.”