A new sheriff’s boat will soon patrol the waters of the shadowy St. Joe River.
Idaho Parks and Recreation awarded Benewah County a $53,600 grant to replace a 1992 jet boat used by the Benewah County Sheriff’s department.
According to Benewah County Undersheriff Tony Eells the current boat has more than 3,400 hours of use.
“People sell their boats with 400 to 500 hours on them,” Mr. Eells said.
The jet boat enables the department to patrol the river as well as provide support to boaters.
“It’s a good cause and it helps the community,” Mr. Eells said.
The department towed four boaters last year according to Mr. Eells who said that they encounter few issues on the river.
“Everybody is pretty compliant on the river. We don’t have many issues,” he said.
The most common infraction is no-wake zone violations according to Mr. Eells.
Jet boats are propelled by an intake and pump system built into the boat’s hull as opposed to an external propeller.
According to a Boating Magazine report, the jet design has several advantages including less maintenance, increased acceleration relative to their horsepower, enhanced maneuverability and navigation of shallower waters compared to propeller boats.
Video reviews of various jet boats show the watercraft idling in as little as six inches of water.
The department plans to purchase the new boat in the next two to three months.