I can understand why some letter writers are opposed to the sheriff’s request for an expensive boat on fiscal grounds, but a clear understanding of the facts would be helpful before they commit themselves to a policy they know nothing about.
These panga boats are equipped with two 250-horsepower motors and are extremely heavy. Getting these large crafts off the beach, even at high tide, is an extremely difficult task that requires a lot of manpower.
As a member of the North Coast Ocean Rescue in Cambria, I have worked to help relaunch one of these pangas, and it’s a very difficult and dangerous operation. The boat has to be deep enough in the water to lower these powerful motors, and the men pushing the boat are in a very precarious position while holding it steady into the oncoming waves. If a wave big enough to turn the boat sideways occurs, the men in the water are in extreme danger.
The safety of the local law enforcement personnel is reason enough alone to purchase this piece of equipment, but if the smugglers know that there may be one more layer of deterrence along our coast, maybe they will look elsewhere for a more remote landing zone.