Somerville Police and Fire Marine Unit Boats Both Make Debut on Mystic River

By William Tauro

This past Saturday, the Somerville Police Department (SPD) launched its newest tool in fighting crime and ensuring public safety along Somerville’s waterfront.

The Somerville Police Marine Unit was seen patrolling the Somerville sector of the Mystic River during the city’s Riverfest celebration and annual fireworks display at Assembly Row.

Somerville Police Chief David Fallon came out to inspect the vessel as well as joined in on a scheduled patrol-run on Saturday.

Now that Assembly Row has been developed, Somerville’s long ignored waterfront is now finally in use. 

With thousands of new residents moving in, people dining and shopping at Assembly Row on a daily basis, a new police marine unit division was developed to help protect our citizens from any accidental incidents that could occur along the Mystic River. 

Somerville’s waterfront begins at the Amelia Earhart Dam and stretches all the way down beyond the boathouse along the Mystic River by Shore Drive.

The Somerville Police Department began assembling their marine unit back in 2015 with the assistance of Commander Maryanne Richarson. Richarson is the director of Shore Side services for Mass Maritime who visited Somerville as part of the Somerville Police departments ongoing collaboration with Mass Maritime to develop a marine unit for the police department.

Senior Marine Unit Intern Paul Hennebury has been working under the direction of the Somerville Police Department for the past summers since 2015 on this initiative. The marine unit was working with regional partners and a top tier maritime academy.

Paul Henneberry photographed at the Winter Hill Yacht Club during internship training

Henneberry at the time was going into his senior year at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. Massachusetts Maritime Academy is one of the top maritime schools in the country. He is an emergency management major and is from Walpole.

He was selected for this internship by a member of the Somerville Police Office of the Chief Homeland Security & Emergency Management after several months and was working for the Homeland Security on seven objectives, boats, training, personnel, jurisdiction, equipment, funding and community relations.

With a new police boat in place, the Somerville Police Marine Unit will be able to provide a higher level of emergency services and community policing with an emphasis of homeland security for both the city and region.

In 2017, the Somerville Fire Department (SFD) put into service their updated Marine Unit on June 30th. It is a 19.5 Sea Fox center console boat that’s stationed at the Winter Hill Yacht Club at Assembly Row. 

Somerville Fire Department as well as Somerville Police Department members have been training with Maritime Tactical Training of Hingham and Massport Fire Rescue Marine Units on Maritime Rules of the Road, Basic Boat handling, Man overboard rescue & Towing operations. 

Pictured above are members of the SFD training in Boston Harbor as well as conducting tow operations with Massport Fire Rescue Marine Unit. 

Although at the time of this photo when the Somerville Fire Department boat was not yet officially in service in 2015, while conducting training on June 20th, the members of the SFD Marine Unit came across a vessel in distress on the Mystic River. The boat was taking on water with a flooded engine.

The SFD Marine Unit was able to successfully tow the boat with it’s operator back to the Mystic Wellington Yacht Club. 

The Somerville Winter Hill Yacht Club has generously donated the use of a boat slip at the yacht club for the new Somerville Fire Unit boat to be stationed. 

The Somerville Police boat will be docked at the Somerville Boathouse

The Somerville Police Department has also opened a satellite office inside of Assembly Row directly adjacent to the Winter Hill Yacht Club.

SPD photos by William Tauro

SFD photos by K. Rojam

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