Casco trying to buy rescue watercraft

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — The Casco Fire and Rescue Department has the opportunity to purchase an 18-foot rigid hull rescue watercraft from the Cape Elizabeth Fire and Rescue Department.

The rescue boat is fully-equipped and water-ready.

The only catch is that, at a reduced price of $12,000, the window of opportunity will likely be brief, according to Casco Chief Brian Cole.

With eight bodies of water in Casco, the town does not want to miss the boat.

The Casco Board of Selectmen agreed and voted unanimously on Tuesday to direct the town manager to work with Cole, using either Capital Account reserves or money from the Contingency Funds account to purchase the watercraft ASAP.

Casco Town Manager Dave Morton said the department has “a small reserve, and I’m not sure what is in the contingency fund.”

Selectman Thomas Peaslee who this summer had a discussion with Cole about marine safety, took the floor.

“By the sounds of it, I don’t think this (rescue boat) is going to sit around very long,” Peaslee said.

Chairman Holly Hancock offered a solution.

“One of the things we can do is to authorize the manager to figure out” how to purchase and transport the boat, Hancock said.

Selectman Calvin Nutting expressed his concerns.

“How many more thousands [of dollars] do we need to put into it? Are we talking $12,000 or $24,000,” Nutting asked, asking if the used boat was even water worthy.

Chief Cole responded.

The Cape Elizabeth Fire and Rescue Department chief “said it is ready to go in the water now,” Cole said.

Peaslee said, “We trust your judgement. If you say it is a good purchase, I believe you.”

Earlier in the conversation, Peaslee had verbalized his support of the purchase.

“Twelve thousand to me seems to be a reasonable price for a watercraft of that kind. I would support whether or not we could find a way to fund that,” he said.

Chairman Hancock asked Chief Cole if he had seen the boat in person. He answered “yes.”

Morton said that the town has utility trucks that could tow it if the town secures the purchase. Cole said the forestry truck would be a good option to tow the boat.

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