The agency uses different boats depending on the waterway. Bass boats are utilized on some of the smaller lakes and rivers. Inboard and outboard jet units meanwhile run small, shallow water.
Officers also have access to side-skin sonar equipment. "Before it would be a long process doing search grids," Callahan states. "Now with sonar mapping out the bottom of the water, you can try and identify ... what you are looking for. Over the years, we've started equipping our regular patrol boats with a scaled down version, so there is something immediate."
Keeping up with technology
MSWP receives funding through the state and federal government. General revenue money goes into the water patrol through the state legislature every year. In addition, the marine patrol receives some federal money through grants, as well as a percentage of money dedicated through boating registration. Close to half of MSWP's funding comes from general revenue. The remainder is dedicated funding and federal funds. "In the time I've been on, our budget has almost doubled," Callahan explains. "That has to do with the equipment. We have to keep up with technology and it gets more specialized and more expensive as it goes along."
"[The MSWP] is proud of its history," Callahan explains. "Proud of the fact the citizens of the state of Missouri have chosen to keep the agency funded and marine intensive. We have proven our officers are an asset to the community and other agencies."
U.S. Coast Guard
Another agency with a water safety mission is the Coast Guard. Officers in the law enforcement division assist in this goal. "We are multi-mission," says Coast Guard Chief Lou Orsini. "We can do search and rescue, respond to an oil spill and get involved in international events. We have authority to board, inspect, search, seize and examine any vessel anywhere."
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Coast Guard operated boats throughout the region. "We brought them into the flooded regions and assisted people in getting out of their homes," Orsini explains. "We helped with helicopters and small boats."
All boarding officers are qualified by their commands and must complete a certain number of training hours. The Coast Guard offers a five-week course in Charleston, N.C. After that, officers continue training with their units. "An individual doesn't have to go through that five-week course," Orsini says. "Instead they can learn on the job under their commanding officer, or they can do it individually on their own time, learning what they need to learn. They have to pass the board and have the complete trust of the commanding officer."
The Coast Guard partnered with many different agencies, including NASBLA, in creating the National Recreational Boating Safety (RBS) Strategic Plan. In addition, the Coast Guard offers grant opportunities. Since 2004, hundreds of officers have been trained through these grants in Boating Under the Influence (BUI) techniques and technologies. Along with national administrative partnerships, the Coast Guard does joint operations with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on the Great Lakes, exemplifying the Strategic Plan's motto: "The Power of Partnerships."
USCG equipment and funding
"When we are operating from small boat stations, they are operating from 18-foot to 54-foot boats," explains Orsini. "For law enforcement boardings, we typically use a 34-foot vessel, which is built for law enforcement needs. At sea, we operate from the larger cutters." These are rigid hull-inflatable boats. Approximately one-seventh of the Coast Guard budget goes toward law enforcement funding.
Orsini states they are a military and multi-mission organization that exists to serve the public through a variety of safety and security mechanisms. He adds they also have a large number of inter-agency and national partners.
"We have 35,000 really dedicated folks in uniform and 8,000 in civilian clothes doing a great job to save others and stop bad things from happening to the U.S.," says Orsini. "We're very proud of our folks."
Oregon State Marine Board