Florida Key’s National Marine Sanctuary’s 53′ high-speed catamaran – the Peter Gladding – serves as a long-range law enforcement patrol boat in the Lower Keys. The primary operating area is the remote Tortugas Ecological Reserves 70 miles west of Key West. Because of the long distance between home port and patrol area, a fuel efficient high cruise speed is required, along with the ability to sprint at very high speeds during pursuit. A Teknicraft hydrofoil assisted catamaran powered by Detroit Diesel and propelled by Hamilton waterjets was selected as a replacement for an aging Coast Guard cutter.
Staffed by cross-deputized state and federal law enforcement officers this vessel remains on station for several days at a time in the Lower Keys and Tortguas Reserve areas. The vessel patrols in deep water as well as sensitive coral reef and mangrove areas where a shallow draft and very low wake wash are required. The Teknicraft catamaran design has demonstrated very low wake wash characteristics. A state-of-the-art electronic joystick control system along with a low boarding area allows the law enforcement officers to safely inspect vessels as well as provide other emergency response services.
The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is part of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Sanctuary Program whose mission is to serve as the trustee for the nation’s system of marine protected areas, to conserve, protect, and enhance their biodiversity, ecological integrity and cultural legacy.