Coast Guard receives new state-of-the-art vessel

(Sonya Stevens/WCIV)

By Sonya

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Coast Guard Sector Charleston now has a new boat that provides them with cutting edge technology.

Thursday morning's ceremony was a chance to formally welcome their newest addition, the Response Boat-Medium.

The new boat, which features an advanced electrical system, water jet propulsion, and integrated electronics comes with a hefty price tag of more than $2 million. It was a much-needed upgrade as the new 45-foot boat will replace the 41-foot utility boat from the 1970s.

"It's like comparing a 1972 pickup truck to a 2013 pickup truck with crew cab fully loaded, capability and comfort and style is all there," said Captain Michael White, USCG Sector Charleston Commander.

And while all the bells and whistles are nice, it's really about the state-of-the-art technology onboard.

"I think it means that the rescue might come sooner than it would have previously come on the older boats," said White. "I think their probability of being rescued and found is higher, so hopefully not only getting on scene faster, but actually having better tools and resources to find the people once we are on scene will make a real difference in those search and rescue cases in the future."

And because this new boat can go faster, it means they can go farther for rescues.

"We are looking at an asset that will cut our response time in half, we can go further out to sea now, so for vessels in trouble out to sea," said Senior Chief Curtis Dewey, USCG Officer in Charge. "We have a lot of people that go out the Gulf stream to fish 50 or 60 miles out. We'll be able to help them quicker."

The second boat is expected to arrive at Sector Charleston in the next four to six months. The other three boats will arrive later this year to Georgetown, Tybee Island, and Brunswick.