MAY 19, 1997
Doug Spady, owner of Doug's Boats, shows Duvall officers Bob Akey (left) and Mark Leitl the finer points of the department's new police boat.
Photo by Andrew Walgamott/Northwest News.
by Lisa Allen, Valley View editor
DUVALL--Using a program offered by boat manufacturers, the Duvall Police Department will be able to patrol the Snoqualmie River this summer with a brand-new jet boat at no cost to the city except for maintenance.
Officers picked up the new boat last week at Doug's Inboard Boats of Woodinville. Under the program, the department will have use of the $10,000 craft for one year. After that time, the department can either purchase the boat at dealer cost or return it. The boat is a Sea Doo Explorer, a Zodiac-type craft that can hold five people.
According to Doug Spady, owner of Doug's Boats, which is donating set-up time for the craft, the law loan program is offered to governmental agencies by boat manufacturers for public safety use. "It's a cost-effective way to get enforcement on the water," he said.
The Bombardier Corporation, the world's largest manufacturer of boats, makes the Explorer, Spady said. The corporation also makes Lear Jets, bullet trains, and electric cars.
Also using the loan program this summer will be the King County Marine Patrol which will be using jet skis, otherwise known as personal watercraft (PWC), to patrol Lakes Washington, Sammamish, and Sawyer, and the Sammamish Slough. The water scooters they use are on loan from Yamaha Motors.
Ironically, it was a group of reckless jet skiers who plagued the Duvall waterways last summer that galvanized the department into taking action. "A lot of people were reminding us that summer was fast approaching and hoping we would be able to protect the beachgoers this year," said Duvall Police Chief Glenn Merryman.
Referring to a San Juan County law banning jet skis, which was challenged by the industry and currently being heard by the Washington State Supreme Court, Spady said that many people think the logical thing to do would be to ban them. "But they're just like a car," he said. "It's the operator that's at fault, not the machine."
The county banned the craft citing noise and environmental hazards. "San Juan County is telling the public they can't be there," Spady said. "That's unconstitutional. Everybody has a right to free passage."
The Duvall Police Department is currently working on a joint agreement with King County Police on patrolling the river, said Officer Bob Akey. "Right now, there is a two-mile stretch of river in the city limits we will be patrolling," he said.
Besides controlling the jet skiers and protecting swimmers, the watercraft will be available for search and rescue and water safety training, said Merryman.