The St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office, located in Hudson, Wis., recently took delivery of a custom-built Lake Assault Boats rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB). The new craft enhances the office’s patrol capabilities and water-based emergency rescue operations on a 27-mile stretch of the St. Croix River, a national scenic riverway.
“Our stretch of the St. Croix River is a heavily used recreational area, with many cabin cruisers, houseboats, and all types of pleasure craft while, further north, the National Park we cover is very popular with kayakers and other silent sports enthusiasts,” said Deputy Chase DuRand of the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office. “There are lots of islands and beaches, and 10 marinas, as well as many full-time residents who live along this portion of the river.”
The Lake Assault Boats 24-foot craft features an overall height less than 13 feet, 6 inches and a person and cargo capacity of 3,000 pounds. It’s able to operate in as little as 21 inches of water for easier access to shallow areas. The boat is outfitted with an innovative bow-to-beach access door and ladder located at the front “V” of the bow.
“The fold-down bow door will make deploying officers onto islands much more efficient,” said DuRand. “It’s an idea we brought to Lake Assault and they were very willing to accommodate our request.”
The vessel will be in high demand throughout the boating season. “We conduct patrols, enforce recreational boating laws, and respond to accidents, disturbances, medical emergencies, and disabled boats,” DuRand stated. “We also operate joint patrols and assist other agencies—including the Minnesota and Wisconsin DNRs—and Minnesota’s Washington County Sheriff’s Office. Moreover, because this craft is larger and has a far better work platform than the boat it replaced, we can deploy our entire Emergency Response Unit in the event of higher threat situations.”
The hull is protected by a full protective collar around the gunwales, and also features a T-top pilothouse with 76 inches of headroom. The dash console provides ample room for electronics, and includes a 16-inch touchscreen that integrates a forward looking infrared (FLIR) system, GPS, maps, chart plotter and sonar with structure and side scan.
The purchase process of the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Office in acquiring the custom-built RHIB involved a two-year search culminating in Lake Assault Boats being awarded the contract.