By Clayton Stairs
U.S. Coast Guard Station Georgetown hosted a ceremony on Thursday morning to dedicate the arrival of its new Response Boat Medium.
This 45-foot boat is designed to replace the 1970's era 41-foot Utility Boat that is currently assigned to Coast Guard Station Georgetown, according to officials.
Congressman Tom Rice, the U.S. representative for South Carolina's 7th congressional district, visited Georgetown on Thursday and took part in the dedication.
Now a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rice also brought the chairman of that committee, Rep. Bill Shuster.
Both Rice and Shuster spoke during the dedication and took a ride on the boat before another meeting at Lands End Restaurant.
"Thank you so much for your service," Rice said to the Coast Guard officers present. "You lay your life on the line for our safety."
Shuster agreed, saying that what the Coast Guard does is vital to the security and safety of the United States.
"We appreciate you promoting safety and security," Shuster said. "Since 9/11 you have had more missions and sometimes have had to make due with limited resources. We will go back to D.C. and see what we can do to help."
Also in attendance were Georgetown Mayor Jack Scoville, Georgetown City Fire Chief Joey Tanner and other local officials.
Scoville said the Coast Guard is very important in Georgetown County since there are more boats registered to people than vehicles.
"There is so much water related activity here and we are glad to have young men and women who rise up to help make our time on the water safer," Scoville said.
This boat is the second of five boats that will be delivered to Coast Guard Sector Charleston over the next year, and assigned to four small boat stations throughout South Carolina and Georgia.
The 45-foot Response Boat Medium is one of the Coast Guard's newest boats and is equipped with state-of-the-art marine technology which makes the RB-M a high performer.
Its outfit includes an advanced electrical system, water jet propulsion, and integrated electronics that allow greater control from the pilot house, officials said.
Its increased capability will enable the Coast Guard to respond to missions more effectively within the coastal South Carolina and Georgia region.