Financial help sought to purchase Saco River patrol boat

FRYEBURG — Fryeburg Police needs some financial help to keep the Saco River safe and orderly this upcoming boating season.

Chief Joshua Potvin is reaching out to the community and businesses to help purchase a new patrol boat.

“As you know, on May 27, 2017, our patrol boat was heavily damaged beyond repair while responding to a life-saving 9-1-1 call on the Saco River for a capsized canoe, which resulted in a drowning. The crash completely totaled our primary patrol boat and the impact fatally injured one of our officers,” wrote Chief Potvin. “Unfortunately, due to the age of the boat, insurance covered $1,700 of the boat damages, but completely covered the repair of the new outboard motor.”

Chief Potvin added that the loss of this boat “leaves us in a very vulnerable position for continued patrols of the Saco River in May.”

Appropriate funding to replace the boat is likely not available until July, after town meeting.

“This puts us over half-way through our busy summer season without a primary watercraft,” Chief Potvin added. “As you know, thousands of recreational users of the Saco River, as well as residents, depend on the watercraft response and routine patrols of Fryeburg Police on the Saco River to ensure their safety and public order.”

In conversations with a boat dealer and “expert in the field,” Chief Potvin said the best replacement boat would be the Lund 1870 Predator or the Lowe 1860 Roughneck Tunnel Drive. The estimated cost is $10,000.

“If we could secure donation funds, this would allow us to order the new watercraft and outfit it prior to the start of our patrols,” the chief said.

The Fryeburg Business Association has asked members and residents of Fryeburg and surrounding towns to help to reach the goal of $8,300 to provide the needed equipment to maintain the safety of the river.

“No amount is too small and is greatly appreciated,” the FBA said.

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