Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office unveils new boat to patrol Lake Michigan waters

NOW: Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office unveils new boat to patrol Lake Michigan waters

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office has acquired a new patrol boat to make sure people are staying safe on Lake Michigan.

Boating season is officially upon us, and the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office is getting ready to patrol Lake Michigan in a new way.

"Milwaukee County has approx. 948 square miles of water we must patrol and cover. It's very important we have a vessel that's designed to handle the weather Lake Michigan can throw at us," Jeremy Franke said.

Monday, the county unveiled its brand new patrol boat at McKinley Marina. Jeremy Franke is the maritime unit commander. Built in Seattle, he said this is the most technologically advanced boat on the lake.

"Because it is the newest, has a lot of the latest technology. The distance on the radar, the chart plotter, auto pilot," Franke said.

The boat itself is 35 feet long and can tow up to 10,000 pounds in the case of a search and rescue.

"This is going to give us the opportunity to serve the people of Milwaukee County and all people who enjoy our waterways here in Milwaukee County during the boating season," Sheriff Earnell Lucas said.

Sheriff Lucas said acquiring this boat took more than a year. The previous patrol boat was more than 27 years old and needed to be upgraded.

"Give us an opportunity to patrol, to ensure people are adhering maritime laws and procedures and keeping everyone safe, and also gives us a chance to have another resource in Milwaukee County."

Deputies celebrated the new boat with a christening by breaking a bottle of champagne before the first inaugural ride. This is traditionally supposed to be good luck to both the ship and the crew.

"US mariners are steep in tradition," Franke said.

Franke said they will officially be out on the water full-time once the weather finally warms up and more people are out boating.

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