The shallow draft of Patrol Boat 440–21 inches–its water-jet propulsion and “fly-by-wire” computer controlled steering system enable the boat to go into very shallow waters on the periphery of New York Harbor, said Major General Robert Wolf, the commander of the New York Naval Militia.
“It allows us to get into places that a conventional boat can’t,” Wolf said. “It’s a more flexible platform with state-of-the-art capabilities which include an infrared camera, dive platform, and GPS navigation.”
PB 440 will be operated by an on-call crew belonging to the Naval Militia’s Military Emergency Boat Service, or MEBS. MEBS currently operates 10 watercraft used for homeland security and to provide assistance to law enforcement on New York’s waters. It will also work in conjunction with the New York National Guard’s Joint Task Force Empire Shield, which provides homeland security services in the New York City area.
The new patrol boat will be used mainly in New York harbor. When required the boat will be available to assist law enforcement personal , including members of the United States Coast guard, in executing maritime enforcement duties.
“Acquiring PB 440 is an example of the emphasis the New York State Division of Military and Naval is placing on assisting security and law enforcement in New York City,” said Major General Joseph Taluto, the Adjutant General and commander of New York’s Military Forces. “New York is the only state that has a full-time, state-funded, military force that has focused on homeland security continuously since 9/11,” he added.
Susan Taluto, a former Army National Guard officer, and the wife of the Adjutant General christened Patrol Boat 440 in a traditional naval naming ceremony on Friday, Feb. 1 at the State University of New York Maritime College in New York City.
The $790,000 cost of the boat was covered by a federal homeland security grant.
The New York Naval Militia is one of seven state naval forces in the United States. The Naval Militia is comprised mainly of 3,200 Navy, Coast Guard Reserve, and Marine Corps Reserve members who also volunteer to perform State Active Duty Missions at the direction of the governor.
The Naval Militia is a component of the New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs which is also oversees the New York Army National Guard, the New York Air National Guard, and the volunteer New York Guard, a state defense force.
The Naval Militia’s MEBS also operates two patrol boats to help enforce an exclusion zone in the Hudson River near the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plants in Westchester County.
PB 440 is driven by water jets powered by two 600 horse power Cummins 8.3 liter diesel engines. This allows the boat enter waters as shallow as two feet. The Catamaran design hull is made of marine grade aluminum. The boat is steered with a Blue Arrow Electronic Control System and is 43 feet, six inches long and 16 feet wide. The boat is run by two-to-four mariners and can carry ten passengers.
PB 440 was built by Mooseboats Inc. of Petaluma, California. It was financed through a Homeland Security grant. It will be based at the USCG Sector New York base at Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island. Fuel for the vessel is being supplied by the Coast Guard under an operating agreement.