Seattle’s Harbor Patrol fundraising to repair boats in preparation for summer water rescues

SEATTLE — The Seattle Police Department (SPD) harbor police are asking for help from the community as they prepare for the busy summer season.

The Harbor Patrol unit responds to an estimated 1,900 service calls each year, helping to save lives on waters around Seattle.

Members of the small unit said they need the public’s help to continue their work, citing budget cuts and a lack of funding for equipment emergencies.

Revenue sources that the department formerly used to fund maintenance of the Harbor Patrol unit are no longer available, a spokesman said. The department no longer has officers contracting with outside agencies that used to bring in funds, and the Seattle City Council has restricted the way the department can spend money in its budget, meaning it’s difficult move funds for maintenance emergencies.

“We have costs, boats are expensive to maintain and this is just one circumstance where a little help from the foundation will go a long way,” said Eric Barton, SPD deputy leader.

The Seattle Police Foundation launched an online fundraiser to help cover one of its major expenses, repairs to one of the unit’s nine boats, Patrol Boat 4, which has been in service since 1998.

“Usually we react to all weather, all conditions in this boat and get there pretty quickly, but right now with a curved wave we’re limited to an idle speed that’s 6 knots or nearly eight miles per hour,” said Kevin Oshikawa- Clay, an officer in the port police of the SPD.

Patrol Boat 4’s slow speed is worrying, especially as more people dive into more summertime activities in the coming weeks.

“On a weekend day, it’s one of those days where people pay attention and say, wow, you can walk over on the boats and it gets so crowded in here,” Oshikawa-Clay said.

While additional resources are needed, Harbor Patrol unit officials want to reassure people that the unit will do whatever it takes to keep the people safe.

“Emphasize that you care about you and the people on board your ship. Be aware that the Seattle Police Department is there to help you if anything goes wrong,” Barton said.

The goal is to raise $25,000, and the money will also cover maintenance on the unit’s other boats.

https://www.king5.com/article/news/local/seattle/seattle-police-department-harbor-patrol-boat-fundraiser/281-5e255cfd-9299-4ad4-a093-57eb9f7dde4c Seattle’s Harbor Patrol fundraising to repair boats in preparation for summer water rescues

Alley Einstein

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