The Port of Vermilion is one of the largest small boat harbors on Lake Erie and the Great Lakes. Vermilion welcomes many seasonal residents and tourists during the summer months. The Vermilion Police Department, in cooperation with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (Division of Watercraft) operates a Marine Patrol program from Memorial Day through the Labor Day weekend. The patrol boat operates mainly on weekends, but is available 24 / 7 emergency calls, special events, and random patrols.
The Marine Patrols’ purpose is to ensure the safety of all people who are enjoying the waters of Lake Erie and the Vermilion River. This is done through educational programs, safety inspections, enforcement of Ohio laws and navigational rules, assisting boaters, patrolling regattas and special events, and performing search and rescue operations. The Marine Patrol also works closely with the United States Coast Guard and the Ohio Division of Watercraft, through mutual aid agreements.
There are presently 8 officers assigned to the Marine Patrol unit. There are 5 civilian operators that also assist with the operation of the unit. Captain Jim Graham is the supervisor of this unit.
Officers assigned to the Marine Patrol unit have all received specialized training through the Division of Watercraft, in addition to the training required as a police officer, such as CPR, use of the AED, (automated external defibrillators) and firearms qualifications.
The Marine Patrol boat is currently a 1995 Boston Whaler with twin 250 hp Yamaha engines. It is equipped with specialized electronics such as radios, radar unit, GPS unit, night vision, radio direction finder, and first aid gear. The boat also carries all safety gear as required by law, and has a 1500 gpm fire pump with a fire nozzle mounted on the bow of the boat.
The boat and equipment are the property of the Division of Watercraft and are assigned to the Vermilion Police Department on an equipment loan agreement as part of the Marine Patrol grant. The Marine Patrol grant also provides matching funds for the operation of the unit, as well as salaries of the Marine Patrol officers.