GOLETA, Calif. - The Santa Barbara County Fire Department will be expanding its response capabilities with a new marine rescue boat.
A check from Assemblyman Gregg Hart and State Senator Monique Limon for $750,000 has been presented for this emergency response vessel, from the State of California.
Santa Barbara County says it has vital needs for this vessel in many areas. They include vessel fires, ocean searches and rescues, environmental responses and calls for service at the Channel Islands which is part of the coverage area.
The county budget will cover some of the costs for gear and specialized training for the vessel crews.
Santa Barbara County Fire Chief Mark Hartwig said, "I was surprised when I got here that we didn't have the capability." He says the county fire is responsible for 110 miles of the coastline. When there are calls at the islands he has said, "what do we use?"
The vessel should be ready in about a year and Hartwig says it will not be based in the Santa Barbara Harbor.
He is hoping to find another dock where it can safely launch quickly to emergency calls.
Assemblyman Gregg Hart said "having the ability to respond to a variety of disasters that happen on the ocean is really critical to the needs of the Santa Barbara County fire department."
The check presentation was made at Goleta Beach Park where the County Fire Department launches its jet skis for rescues in that area or in the nearby coastal water off Isla Vista.