Flagler County, FL - Just in time for National Safe Boating Week and the start of Memorial Day Weekend, the Flagler County Sheriff's Office has re-launched a full-time marine and beach patrol unit in honor of a deputy who passed away. FCSO announced the re-launching of the full-time Marine and Beach Unit on Wednesday in honor of Captain Grady Prather, a 33-year veteran of the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office who led and created the Sheriff’s Office's Marine Unit. Prather retired in January of 2008 and passed away in November of 2009. An artificial reef at Flagler Beach was deployed in honor of Prather in 2011. "We weren't full-time before, and now we're heading into the summer season, we're going to be full-time, so we're gonna have deputies patrolling the beach and the marine waterways in Flagler County," explains FCSO Public Information Officer Shannon Martin.
The Marine and Beach Unit will now use a fully equipped Jeep Wrangler, which is capable of driving on the beach, and a new 450 horse-power air boat."Now that we have the Jeep and the air boat, we really are not limited in assisting any areas of Flagler County on land, in the water or by the water," says Martin.
The Marine and Beach patrols will be led by Deputy Jeff Turner, who has 20 years of boating experience with both the Navy and the Sheriff's Office. “I’m pleased that we have the opportunity to re-launch a full-time Marine and Beach Unit in Captain Prather’s honor. I’m also glad to have Captain Prather’s lineage here at the Sheriff’s Office with his son, Deputy Jason Prather,” Flagler Sheriff Rick Staly says.
As the Marine and Beach Unit patrols the waters of Flagler County, FCSO is reminding boaters to be safe while boating. FCSO has the following tips to stay safe on the water: