Palm Beach Police Chief Michael Reiter describes the new patrol boat, which has two supercharged Mercury outboard engines, totaling 550 horsepower, and can reach speeds of 60 mph.
With one quick whack of a mesh-wrapped champagne bottle, the town's new 35-foot Island Runner became Palm Beach Police Marine One.
Philanthropist Leo Albert did the honors at Friday morning's ceremony, officially commissioning the high-speed boat into police service.
About 100 guests attended the event at the Brazilian Docks. They lifted champagne flutes filled with apple juice in a salute as Albert and town officials on board backed out of the slip for a brief run on the Intracoastal Waterway.
"It was a great ride," he said of the three-mile jaunt. His only concern of the morning was striking the vessel.
"I didn't want to put a dent in it," he said of his christening duties.
Albert and his wife, Anne, donated $150,000 for purchase of the new boat.
He said he wanted to provide additional security for Palm Beachers.
"I have a concern about terrorism," Albert said. "We're surrounded by water."
He said he also wanted to improve the department's ability to perform waterway rescues, which has already occurred.
On May 1, the town's Marine Patrol Officers Mick Keehan and Tom Machate were training on the new boat when they responded to an emergency call. They were able to assist the U.S. Coast Guard in the rescue of an unidentified man on a personal watercraft in distress about a half mile out in the ocean near the Lake Worth Inlet.
Leo Albert, left, and Police Chief Michael Reiter christen the new police patrol boat.
Just two days later, the officers and Palm Beach Fire-Rescue used the boat to save a construction worker who was knocked into the water while installing pilings at the Royal Park Bridge.
"It has already paid for itself," Albert said of the new boat.
According to Maj. Michael Mason, the town will keep the department's old 25-foot fishing boat at least until August. He said the town may still use it, but if not, it will be sold during the town's annual auction.
The new boat's specially designed hull cuts through waves with barely a ripple. It silently glides through the water, propelled by two supercharged Mercury outboard engines, totaling 550 horsepower. It can reach speeds of 60 mph.
Wayne Diller, a boating enthusiast and member of the department's new Marine Crime Watch program, was among those under the tent for the 30-minute event. He said he was impressed with the new addition to the police lineup.
"The bad guys can't get away from that boat," he said.
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