PWCs for water rescue teams
Congressional Representatives Enhance Public Safety on the Water
New Program Loans Personal Watercraft Vessels to Local Agencies
WASHINGTON, DC - Personal watercraft manufacturers launched a new program today that will involve Members of Congress applying for a personal watercraft (PWC) vessel to be loaned to public safety agencies in their congressional districts. The Congressional PWC Loan Program is an excellent way to better secure America's waterways with safety and rescue vessels at little cost to the taxpayer.
"At a time when tight local budgets might make it difficult to allocate resources for the purchase of a patrol or rescue boat, the PWC Loan Program will be helpful to an agency or organization in your congressional district," wrote Representatives E. Clay Shaw, Jr. (R-FL) and Gene Taylor (D-MS) in a letter that was delivered to the Members of the Congressional Boating Caucus this week. Representatives Shaw and Taylor are the Co-Chairs of the caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives.
While the involvement of the Congressional Boating Caucus is new, the loan program itself is not. Since 1989, approximately 15,000 vessels have been loaned through manufacturers and their local dealerships to law enforcement, fire and rescue, and marine mammal research organizations across America. If calculated at the 2003 average retail price of $8,890 per PWC, manufacturers' investment in this program has exceeded $133 million. The vessels will be loaned from the manufacturer for a typical period of one year.
"We're delighted to extend this program to Members of the Congressional Boating Caucus so that public safety agencies across America can become more aware of this program and participate in it," stated Maureen Healey, Executive Director of the Personal Watercraft Industry Association (PWIA). "Our industry is fully committed to boating safety and we are enhancing our loan program to involve congressional representatives because PWC have become more popular in the last several years as an increasing number of officials across the country use them for patrolling, search and rescue, and even to research and rescue dolphins and manatees," she continued.
Because PWC operate by water propulsion and do not have propellers, they are ideal for rescue operations and other missions where an exposed propeller might otherwise compromise the situation. Technological innovations achieved in recent years have also resulted in today's PWC being among the most environmentally friendly motorized vessels on the water. They are 75% cleaner and 70% quieter than those models sold before 1998. The three-person model is the most popular, accounting for more than 75% of the retail market. These larger sized models are the ones typically used in the loan program.
The members of PWIA, which are the PWC manufacturers that will participate in this program, are: American Honda Motor Company, Inc.; BRP US Inc.; Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A.; and Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A.
To learn more about how your community can participate in the Congressional PWC Loan Program, please contact your local U.S. Representative or contact PWIA at 202-737-9768.