On Saturday, July 13, 2019, the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office Marine Unit was called to assist the U.S. Coast Guard in helping an injured and stranded boater who was approximately 12 miles off the Nassau County coast in the Atlantic Ocean. According to the Coast Guard the boater, Chuck Dopson, 55 from Yulee, was alone and either had a heart attack or was electrocuted. He was air-lifted to UF Health in Jacksonville with serious injury. NCSO’s Marine Unit pulled the boat back to shore.
The Nassau County Sheriff’s Office Agriculture and Marine Unit works in partnership with other local, state and federal agencies to provide safety to our extensive coastlines, inland waterways and lakes by providing law enforcement and emergency rescue operations. They also patrol woodlands and undeveloped property along with other areas that are inaccessible to our Patrol Division.
The Marine portion of the unit maintains a collaborative partnership with many federal, state and local agencies and routinely assists with special operations. They also provide waterside security at the Port of Fernandina Beach, interstate bridges, rail lines, and gas lines crossing the waterways of the County, patrol rivers and waterways within Nassau County, respond to reports of drowning victims when marine vessels are required to aid in the search, respond to reports of lost, overdue, or disabled vessels, respond to reports of abandoned vessels, assist other agencies with water related issues, assist in any law enforcement situation where a vessel could be utilized, enforce marine and resource laws, perform boating safety inspections, enforce County wake restrictions, assist with the homeland security details, active participants in the Regional Domestic Security Task Force in regards to the security of Kings Bay.
The Marine Unit currently has four boats available for use. These vessels range in size and functionality and have the capabilities of functioning in offshore and inshore situations. One Jet Ski is also available for use during the warmer months to assist in the patrolling of our waterways. This vessel is also utilized year round in emergency situations where quick rescue efforts are required.