Hi-tech catamaran offers ‘flexibility’ for marine unit

The Yorkshire and The Humber (YaTH) Marine and Underwater Search Unit has moved away from the traditional police rigid-inflatable boat (RIB) with a state-of-the-art catamaran that will “provide better handling, stability and deck space”.

Oct 31, 2018
By Paul Jacques
Andy Marsh

It says the custom-made catamaran will help transform the way the sea, rivers, lakes and canals around the region are policed.

The new 10m long Cheetah Marine boat has been specially built in the Isle of Wight over the past few months and is now ready for service.

It is a joint venture between the four regional forces – Humberside Police, South Yorkshire Police, West Yorkshire Police and North Yorkshire Police.

The combined investment of £220,000 comes from all four forces.

The boat has a lifespan of around 25 years and will be used operationally for policing the region’s waterways on the surface and underneath, and the YaTH unit says it is a vital asset for working out at sea, patrolling the coastline and tackling crime. It replaces two vessels previously used by the unit.

Inspector Rob Grunner said the launch of the new boat “marks an important day for the regional marine and underwater search unit”.

“Taking possession of this vessel will open up a host of opportunities to allow us to keep the public safe, work with partners in the area to tackle crime and assist colleagues on the rivers and coastal areas of Yorkshire,” he added.

“It will allow the team to work longer hours in much more challenging environments, keeping them safe while they go about their duties.”

The decision to purchase a catamaran follows the success of a smaller ‘trailerable’ 7.2m Cheetah built for Cheshire Constabulary.

On average, the team expects to deploy two to three times a week.

The YaTH unit says the one vessel “does the job of two”. Berthed at King George’s Dock in Hull on 24-hour standby, it will join RIBs already in use, but its versatility and added functionality means it can combine the capabilities of both kinds of craft.

With twin 300hp Mercury Verado outboards producing top speeds in excess of 40 knots, the catamaran can be mobilised rapidly between areas covering the coast of Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, together with rivers and estuaries. Both the vessel and officers will undertake wide and varied tasks, including security patrols and border control, while assisting in searches from intelligence-led operations.

It has a total load of more than one tonne, can carry between ten and 12 people plus equipment, and is fitted with hi-tech equipment and a special winch for lifting objects out of the water.

PC Roger Bennett said: “We have moved away from the traditional RIB chosen by the police and purchased a catamaran as this provides better handling, stability and deck space.

“It also provides the true all-weather capability and provides safety and flexibility required for the crew to undertake the roles required of a police marine and underwater search unit.”

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