Washoe County Sheriff’s officials are investigating why one of the department’s rescue boats sank in Lake Tahoe on Memorial Day.
The office’s patrol and rescue vessel, Marine 9, had been moored at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe since May 23 when, for unknown reasons, it started to take on water at about 4 or 5 p.m. Monday, said WCSO Public Information Officer Bob Harmon.
“There was no one on board … it went down fairly quickly,” Harmon said Tuesday. “It was still attached to the mooring, so we got it out and had it resurfaced this morning.”
No one was hurt in the incident, and there is “no indication any fuel leaked out into the Lake,” Harmon said.
The boat was hauled to Reno this week so the department can determine the amount and cost of damage and if any repairs are needed. A timeline for that is unknown, Harmon said.
Marine 9 is a 24-foot Almar boat based in Incline Village, and is among three rescue vessels owned by the sheriff’s office. The other two are used on Pyramid Lake, Harmon said.
“We will have to take a look at needs and make determinations from there,” Harmon said when asked if the Washoe County portion of Lake Tahoe may be without a patrol boat for an extended time period. “It’s just kind of too early to speculate.”
In May 2013, the sheriff’s office spent nearly $50,000 in federal drug forfeiture money to upgrade Marine 9. The 15-year-old boat’s worn-out inboard/outboard drive system was removed, and it was retrofitted with two high-tech Evinrude outboards.
Members of the WCSO Incline Marine Auxiliary are volunteers who help maintain and staff the boat along with WCSO personnel.