Shame on me for "missing the boat" on the decision made by the Hilton Head Island Town Council last fall to forego the federal grant that would have provided a fire-rescue boat for the Town of Hilton Head Island Fire & Rescue Division.
As a summer vacationer for close to 20 years, I have witnessed a fire department that has grown in sophistication, technology, planning, safety and training, and keeps up to date with apparatus and facilities. The shortsightedness of Town Council on this issue could prove costly.
The Oct. 25 story states that Town Council was unconvinced that Hilton Head needs a fire-rescue boat unless the cost was shared by Beaufort County. Sad. So if Beaufort County came on board, then a need exists? Poor rationalization. Chief Lavarn Lucas stated that although the cost of the boat and equipment would be covered by the grant, there could be other costs, but they would be minimal, didn't affect staffing and would be absorbed through the existing budget.
Lucas is correct. The need exists for the protection of residents, tourists, wildlife and the environment. Liability? Yes, the chief is correct again. Without the common-sense firefighting resources to deal with water and marina emergencies, the town is opening itself up to litigation.
Praise goes to Lucas and the Hilton Head fire department for being a 21st-century department always looking to improve. It is unlikely that an opportunity like this will arise again, but the need remains.
Douglas Brower. assistant chief
Prospect Heights Fire Co.