ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

911 Operators and Dispatchers, A Marine Ride a Long

Updated on September 16, 2014

Boat Ride

Our training for that month was a scheduled ride-a-long with our police department's marine unit..

City Dock

I arrived in dispatch at 0700 and my co-worker and I drove to the city dock together. We met our Marine Officer and he introduced us to the Assistant Dock Master.

Many boats were docked, there was a place to fuel, a shop for concessions and bait, restrooms and a park bench if you needed to sit for a bit.

It was a gorgeous, hardly a cloud in the sky, but hot day in June.

Not so Fun

"I'm really not looking forward to this," my co-worker had said. But I was like a kid in a candy store. How many people get to ride on a police boat!

My co-worker was not a fan of the heat, and being in the hot sun would probably give her a headache, as she was prone to migraines. I empathized with her, but still could hardly contain my excitement. I had to remind myself that I was an adult and not 4 years old.

A Beautiful Day to be on the Water

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Back BayGoing under the bridge
The Back Bay
The Back Bay | Source
Going under the bridge
Going under the bridge | Source

The Back Bay

We gently pulled away from the dock and headed out into the bay. Our officer showed us where the boat clubs were and told us about the inexperienced employees at one of them.

He trolled slowly through what became almost as narrow as a canal, and he showed us the back of some of our housing developments. This was a whole new way to gain some zone familiarization!

Just as we were about to get close to the open water again, we came across a sail boat that was moored. A women had climbed up to the mast and was working on the sail. Our officer tethered up to them and asked if everything was okay. He called out his location over the radio and the dispatcher recorded the call.

They explained that they were on there way to the southern part of the state when their sail tore. They were going to fix it and spend the day here and be on their way again tomorrow.

He let them know to call our department if they needed anything and as he cleared the call over the radio, I thought "Well that was easy enough."

Pulled Over

Have you ever been pulled over while on a boat?

See results

Obey the Rules of the Road or uh Water


Citation while Boating?

We were approaching a Y type of channel just as you're coming out into the Gulf that gets a lot of people confused. It was as if he had planned it because right then a boat cut us off and went the wrong way through one of the channels.

He "lit them up" and pulled them over. Our officer got as close as possible to the boaters and handed them our rope.

With a surprised look on his face, the elderly gentleman took the rope and wrapped it around the cleat and handed it back to our officer as instructed.

It wasn't until we were tethered and our Officer had the vessel hull registration number that he called the traffic stop over the radio. Completely different than our road officers who sometimes call out a traffic stop and air the tag before they've come to a complete stop.

When he explained to the boater what he had done wrong, the man began to get incredulous. His wife looked chagrined as he said, "This isn't my first rodeo you know."

As the man tried to argue our Officer eventually told the man, "I really don't want to write you a ticket." Oh boy the man's attitude flipped faster than a hot pancake, and I was trying not to giggle.

We cleared the call over the air with "warning" as the disposition.

High tech equipment with a large GPS system.
High tech equipment with a large GPS system. | Source
Preparing the boat.
Preparing the boat. | Source

Safety and Respect

As we continued on, we picked up speed. It was important not to kick up a wake while in certain marked areas. The wakes can causes boats close to shore or that are docked to start rocking, which can result in damage to the boats and injuries to people.

Our officer said It just doesn't enter the minds of boaters that they could actually get a ticket while boating. He said he uses the line he used before about not wanting to write a ticket, and then most people get it.

As a dispatcher I'm always surprised when a Marine Officer closes a call with a citation, and I asked him what would make him write someone on the water a ticket. He said there are boaters he's come to recognize, that come out regularly and can be repeat offenders. He also writes them up if someone is doing something blatantly wrong. But most people aren't looking to cause trouble while boating, they just want to have fun.

A Real Call

After showing us some of the other areas, both in the Gulf and the back bays, our ride was about to come to an end as we headed back to the city dock. I could tell my co-worker was relieved.

Only a few minutes away from the dock, the dispatcher came over the radio advising us of a marine emergency.

"Paddle boat sinking, two people on board"

Our Officer flipped on the lights and sirens, turned and thrust the throttle down.

"Whoa! We're going code on the boat in the water!" In that moment I really was 4 years old.

As we braced ourselves for the ride I turned to my co-worker and said, "We are the luckiest people in the world right now!"

From the look on her face she obviously didn't think so.

Marine Rescue

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The rescuePulling the paddle boat in.Tethering the paddle boat to the marine boat
The rescue
The rescue | Source
Pulling the paddle boat in.
Pulling the paddle boat in. | Source
Tethering the paddle boat to the marine boat
Tethering the paddle boat to the marine boat | Source

On Scene

As we were pulling up to the scene we could see a kayak rowing away from the paddle boat and towards the shore. As we pulled up close to the listing paddle boat, two employees from the resort were in the water, in full uniform, polo shirts with pin on name tags and khaki shorts. The female employee immediately sighed and said, "Thank you!"

We helped them onto the boat and tethered the listing paddle boat to the patrol boat. Our officer advised the dispatcher that we were on scene and to cancel any other incoming units.

Drenched and relieved, they told us that when they heard from other guests what was happening they rowed a kayak out to them. The resort guests that were on the sinking paddle boats were scared out of there minds.

The employees tried to shift them gently into the kayak, but they pretty much jumped in. They were surprised the kayak didn't dump and said the two women rowed that kayak back to shore faster than they've ever seen anyone row. The employees had been treading water with the paddle boat, waiting for help to get there.

Back at Shore

We towed the paddle boat as close to shore as possible. Once inland, the employees were able to get off the boat in to chest deep water. They untied the paddle boat to drag to shore while guests who were swimming made comments such as, "That's going above and beyond the call of duty!, " and "Is that in your job description?"

Above and Beyond

Dropping them off
Dropping them off | Source
Headed to shore
Headed to shore | Source

For the 911 Operators and Dispatchers out there

Have you ever been on a marine ride-a-long?

See results

Headed Back

I was grinning from ear to ear knowing that I was probably the only ride-a-long disaptcher to get a marine emergency. As I was savoring this experience I looked at my co-worker and could see she was relieved to be going back.

We were going at a good pace, and our Officer was watching the water ahead of him, when out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw a tuber behind a boat go down.

My co-worker looked at me sideways as I pointed it out to our Officer. We pulled up closer and asked what was wrong. They had a tube that was losing air but they were okay.

My co-worker looked relieved and we once again headed back.

I learned so much that day. I'd been on the water plenty of times, but now I saw it all through the eyes of our Officer. I could appreciate how important it is to have people like him doing such a great job.

I can't say enough about these kind of ride-a-longs. They help us dispatchers to get a clear idea of how responders see and experience what we hear over the radio.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)