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Page, AZ – The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office recently received the transfer of a 19 foot, 2004 Boston Whaler from Arizona Game and Fish Department to assist in water safety patrols on Lake Powell. The boat is one of several offered to this year as part of a new Game and Fish program to help counties continue important water safety patrols and responses.
Recognizing that many Arizona law enforcement agencies were struggling to fund their boat programs and replace equipment, Arizona Game and Fish offered to donate boats they have rotated out of service.
Sheriff’s Offices in Arizona previously received State Lake Improvement Fund (SLIF) grants which supported boating programs and funded equipment for many agencies including the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office. Beginning in 2008, Arizona State Parks announced these SLIF funds were being swept by the state legislature. Since that time, many agencies have struggled to fund much needed boat repairs and equipment.
“We’re really grateful to Game and Fish for their donation of this boat to our program,” said Coconino County Sheriff Jim Driscoll. “It has become increasingly more difficult to find funding to replace aging boats and related equipment, but our need to address water safety continues.” Over 3 million people visit Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon Recreation area each year. The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office works closely with Arizona Game and Fish, the National Park Service and Utah law enforcement to patrol Lake Powell waterways.
The Coconino County Sheriff’s Office has had a Boat Patrol Program since the 1980’s. The program operates primarily out of the Page Substation and services Lake Powell and portions of the Colorado River. The donated boat will support the water safety program and is in addition to a 27’ Boston Whaler and two jet skis that the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office currently uses to patrol on Lake Powell. Every year, they perform numerous water rescues, respond to boat accidents and drownings, and enforce Title 5 watercraft operation laws, as well as conduct community outreach and education about safe boating habits.