How the Collier County Sheriff’s Office is keeping you safe on the water

Reporter: Rich Kolko
Published: Updated:
Aboard a Collier County Sheriff’s Office Marine UNit boar. Credit: WINK News

With miles of coastline and water as far as the eye can see, how do local law enforcement agencies keep them secure? With a marine unit.

Collier County Sheriff’s Office corporals Todd Byrns and Mike Craig take WINK News Safety and Security Specialist Rich Kolko out on the water to show you how they’re keeping you safe.

Cpl. Byrns with the CCSO Marine Unit says they’re there to “Make sure everybody is out having a good time but doing it safely.”

With 120 miles of shoreline and hundreds of square miles to patrol, it takes a fleet to keep Southwest Florida safe.

MORE: CCSO Special Operations Marine Bureau

The marine unit has 10 vessels constantly on the lookout for anyone breaking the law, needing help, or even slowing down to pick up litter to keep Southwest Florida beautiful.

Denise Snyder says she’s glad a team is on the water looking out for her, “It’s great, just makes sure everyone is following the rules. Cause a lot of people, even if they own the boats, don’t follow the rules.”

Enforcing the laws is only a part of the unit’s everyday mission.

Marine Unit Operational Supervisor Sgt. Dave Bruening says it’s about safety, “Whenever there is a marine emergency kicked off, everyone is dispatched that we work in conjunction with to bring that to a safe resolution.”

Saving lives is also part of the job.

“Our commitment to our residents and visitors,” said Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk “If you’re in distress and you were that far out and we are the closest unit to you, or we can get there the fastest, we’re coming to get you.”

It’s that commitment to keeping everyone safe that keeps Cpl. Byrns out on the water every day.

The CCSO marine unit is a critical part of the marine emergency response team, or MERT, which is made up of boats from multiple agencies that train and work together.

Next time you’re out on on the water, know there’s always someone out there looking after you.

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