The 100 Club has donated 14 rescue boats to Houston and Harris County agencies as the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season gets under way.
The 100 Club's executive director, William Skeen, said they wanted to donate the boats because of the obvious lack of rescue boats desperately needed during Hurricane Harvey.
Skeen said the 14 boats are worth $278,000 and should last for 20 years.
Harris County Sheriff’s Office Reserve Deputy Major Marty O’Brien said five go to their department.
“We’ll use the boats for flood rescue mostly. We will have some patrol with them, but their mostly a flood rescue boat. It will help us, along with the air boats, all over the county,” said O’Brien. “Sometimes the flooding, as we just saw, over the last hurricane, it literally happened all over the county. So, five boats, it will immensely help us.”
HCSO’s marine reserve fleet couldn’t handle shifting currents during the flooding in Harvey’s aftermath.
Houston Fire Department Chief Samuel Pena said within the next two months will be able to secure what they asked the Houston City Council for in the budget.
“Our ask is for 20 boats. Right now, we’re shy about five to six boats. The city has committed to funding the balance of those assets that we need to be able to serve the community’s need,” said Pena.
Last August, HFD had only one high-water rescue vehicle, and older rescue boats.
Houston Police Department Executive Assistant Chief T.R. Finner said he hopes we never get flooding like with Harvey, but at least now they're prepared.
“You just don’t show up and rescue people. There’s training involved. So, this is going to go strong with our local partners, Chief Pena and everybody else … (in) Harris County,” said Finner.
Five boats go to the HCSO, five boats to HPD and four boats (two double stackers) go to the HFD.