Wed | Jan 16, 2019

JDF now boasts Caribbean’s largest maritime presence

Published:Sunday | October 29, 2017 | 12:00 AM

The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) recently received four new vessels from the Government of the United States (US) under the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative. The vessels, two 38-foot SAFE boats and two 37-foot Boston Whalers, were received by the JDF Coast Guard last week. Since 2015, the US Government has donated eight inshore patrol vessels (IPVs), four SAFE boats, and four Boston Whaler/Justice Vessels.

The acquisition of the vessels has significantly bolstered the unit's fleet, now affording Jamaica the largest maritime presence in the Caribbean. The JDF Coast Guard now has two county-class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) and 10 IPVs.

"The new vessels give us various options with respect to flexibility and rapid responses within our maritime domain. We will continue to conduct operations in conjunction with, or in support of, our partner nations where possible", said Major Basil Jarrett, civil-military cooperation officer at the JDF, when asked how the new vessels would be of service to Caribbean neighbours.


Agility meets Innovation


The recently donated vessels now provide the JDF with the best in maritime technology and speed. The SAFE boat, spanning 12 metres in length with a beam three metres wide, is able to carry 24 persons, that is 20 passengers and four crew members, safely aboard. The larger of the vessels also has a fuel capacity of 1,500 litres and a maximum speed of 30 knots.

SAFE Boats International is an American-owned aluminum boat manufacturer and leading supplier to military, federal, state, and local law enforcement, as well as fire and rescue agencies throughout North America and around the world. SAFE has the they hold a reputation for designing and building highly reliable and extremely durable vessels that enable professional crews to excel at their jobs while keeping them safe.

The SAFE Full Cabin is an outboard-driven vessel used by the US Coast Guard, as well as US Customs and Border Protection. It is a proven platform for patrols, response, port security, law enforcement, and search and rescue in nearly any mission environment. The fully enclosed cabin can be climate controlled with an optional generator, air-conditioning system, and diesel heater.

The Boston Whaler packs a bigger punch in a slightly smaller package. Spanning 11 metres long with a 3.5-metre beam, the Boston Whaler is able to transport 10 passengers and four crew members. A large gas tank of 1,700 litres, and a top speed of 37 knots round out the knots round out the package. For 60 years, Boston Whaler has engineered the most reliable and forward-thinking boats on the water.

Both vessels are fully equipped with complete electronic navigational suites, forward-looking infrared radar, and marine communications equipment. They also have the option for small arms of mounting. A 3-x Mercury 250 horsepower outbound engine powers the Boston Whaler, while the slightly quicker SAFE boat has the propulsion of a 3-x Yamaha 300 horsepower outboard engine.


Features of the Boston Whaler Outrage


- Legendary unsinkable hull design delivers a soft, safe, dry ride

- Premium Mercury Verado outboard power pushes you farther

- Beefy integrated hard-tops and windshield systems protect from the elements


Feature of the SAFE Full Cabin


- Pressure-tested air-tight hull

- Reinforced keel beaching plate

- Stepped transom with speed shoe in bottom plate

- Performance wings below collars for increased lift and stabilisation while manoeuvreing

- Fully welded performance-lifting strakes

- Self-bailing decks with high-volume scupper drains

- Forward cockpit with self-draining decks

- Bow storage/anchor locker with aft facing door

- Dual aft-rigging locker system with topside access

- Transom inspection hatch

- Sacrificial hull anode(s)


Super Structure


- Cabin with aft, port, and starboard weather-tight doors

- Cuddy with bench seating

- Weather-tight cuddy access hatch

- Sliding side-aft windows

- Overhead spotter windows (tinted)

- Safety glass used in all windows

- Overhead cuddy ceiling hatch

- Swing-down radar pod

- Safety hand/grab rail system with black-rubberised rail wrap


Console & Dash


- Starboard side helm

- OHIP - Overhead instrument panel

The vessels were formally presented by ChargÈ d'Affaires at the US Embassy in Jamaica Eric Khant to State Minister in the Ministry of National Security Senator Pearnel Charles Jr. "These boats are a symbol of our commitment to our Jamaican partners. We assure you that we stand with you in your fight against criminal organisations," Khant said.

Chief of Defense Staff, Major General Rocky Meade said that the auxiliary vessels would support and enhance the capability of the existing fleet in the fulfillment of the mandate of the coast guard. More than anything else, Jamaicans can rest assured that the country's coastline and waters would be a lot safer now and a lot harder for criminal entities to penetrate.