CCPD Patrol the Waterways

The Corpus Christi Police Department is looking to fill a lack of patrol coverage in more than 300 square miles of water and over 100 miles of Gulf Coast Beaches to keep up with growth. Visitors to Corpus Christi access about 70 miles of the beach. So who patrols these areas in maintaining safety and order?

Currently, six Texas Game Wardens are the only law enforcement agents patrolling these waters with arresting powers for state crimes. Their focus is on enforcing game and safety laws. Their two most cited violations are given for a) not having enough life jackets on board and b) children younger than 13 not wearing life jackets. Their work contributes greatly to the safety of the waterways.
Stolen Majek Boat
Stolen Majek Boat at Marker 37
However, in addition to enforcing game and safety regulations, officials are also charged with patrolling for and responding to criminal behavior on the water. The Corpus Christi waterway is increasingly vulnerable to many types of criminal activities. Calls are made to CCPD reporting a variety of crimes on the waterways, including theft, burglary, disturbing the peace, recklessness or intoxication while operating watercraft, and speeding through the canals. These and other crimes jeopardize the safety and enjoyment of the many people who reside in or visit the coastal areas.
Crashed Boat
Reckless Boat Driver Result 
The well-known ski area for local residents on Padre Island can be a particularly hazardous area, especially during very crowded weekends and holidays. As recently as June of this year, a boat operator going too fast while turning caused the boat to skip, catapulting the driver and passengers off the boat. The craft continued to run full speed into the sand bank, miraculously missing other boats and innocent bystanders. With the crowding and under-regulation of such areas, tragic incidents seem inevitable.

Some boat accident statistics might make you raise an eyebrow and wonder if our community can do better. Fifty percent of all boating fatalities involve alcohol and nearly 85% of boat drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket.

If you are one of over 10,000 registered boat users in Nueces County, you have probably experienced the ski area at Padre Island on weekends or holidays. It can be one of the most dangerous places to be with your family. All it takes is one reckless boat driver to ruin the fun for all.

Reckless Driver Outcome
On 6/24/2013, a vessel was being operated in the main Whitecap canal near Dasmarinas in the late evening. According to witnesses the vessel began doing donuts at a high rate of speed in the canal. The operator lost control and struck a pylon and a bulk head. Both the operator and passenger were injured and transported to Memorial Medical Center. Texas Parks and Wildlife is investigating and alcohol is suspected to be involved. In the picture provided you can see the damage done to the boat.

Recently, a resident reported a 20ft Majek boat stolen from a lift at Marker 37 marina. The lift was lowered and the boat was removed sometime overnight on 6-5-2013. The boat was located by Texas Parks and Wildlife on 6-13-2013 in Northern Night Hawk Bay. The boat was left stripped and there are no suspects.

Future Growth

Every summer and holiday weekend hundreds of boaters come to Corpus Christi to fish and enjoy our local waterways. Approximately 5 million people visit the Corpus Christi area every year. The new Schlitterbahn resort development is projected to open for spring break of 2014 and will bring further economic growth in our community. New resorts and hotels are in development as well.

Ski Area Packed Shorelines
Particularly during this time of growth, visitors and residents depend on local law enforcement to maintain a safe and enjoyable community. The Corpus Christi Police Department sees both a challenge and an opportunity to help maintain public safety and keep the peace. To accomplish this they are seeking help from the community in order to place CCPD’s first patrol boat in service. Giving CCPD a physical presence on the water will enable officers to enforce the law and protect citizens as they are sworn to do.

Their goal is to have the first CCPD patrol boat in place by 2014 Spring Break. To accomplish this, the Police Department will need to secure funding from sources outside of their annual budget by this fall, 2013. Contributions from local businesses and individuals are a vital part of this initiative.

Majek Boats and Ronnie’s Marine (Premier Yamaha) have teamed up to outfit a brand new 25.5 Majek Extreme. The Majek will be discounted and specifically designed to meet the needs of the CCPD Marine Unit.

CCPD Officers Josh Swain and John McGinley are the lead contacts to donate to this cause.

Your contribution will help the CCPD put their first water patrol in the Nueces County water ways, giving them a visible presence and greater ability to respond to those requiring help.

Please make checks out to "IF Beautification Fund / Marine Unit". Check can be delivered to Marianne at the Seashore Early Childhood Development Center on Padre Island.

Dave Alexander

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