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Press Releases

April 11, 2006

Cheva Heck
(305) 292-0311 ext. 26
(305) 304-0179 (cell)


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the State of Florida have dedicated a new high-speed law enforcement vessel that will patrol the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, focusing on the Tortugas Ecological Reserve. The vessel has been named the Peter Gladding, in honor of a longtime Key West, Fla., commercial fisherman and conservationist who helped establish the reserve. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers with the Sanctuary Enforcement Team requested that the vessel be named in honor of Gladding based on their working relationship with him in the Tortugas.

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“The dedication of the Patrol Vessel Peter Gladding fulfills our commitment to work with the State of Florida to make sure the rules that protect the marine resources of the Tortugas Ecological Reserve are backed up with full enforcement capability,” said retired Air Force Brigadier General John J. Kelly, Jr., deputy under secretary for oceans and atmosphere. “The Peter Gladding is uniquely suited for its mission.”

“This new vessel strengthens our partnership with the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, protecting Florida’s natural resources and its people,” said Colonel Julie Jones, director of law enforcement for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. “This new vessel increases our long-range, offshore patrol capabilities, building a safe, stable platform for maritime operations that will increase our effectiveness in the region.”

Built by All American Marine of Bellingham, Wash., the 57-foot Peter Gladding is a Teknicraft hydrofoil-assisted, aluminum-hulled catamaran powered by Detroit Diesel engines and propelled by Hamilton water jets. The vessel operates with a top speed of 42 knots and has a fuel capacity of 1,000 gallons. This allows it to sprint at high speeds during pursuit and efficiently travel the 70 miles that separate its homeport of Key West from its patrol area.

“We are honored to name this vessel after a man who knew the waters of the Tortugas like the rest of us know our backyards and worked so hard to share that knowledge in hopes of preserving them for the future” said Billy Causey, superintendent of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. “The officers of our Tortugas patrol stand ready to use their new vessel to make Peter Gladding’s vision for the region a reality.”

The Gladding’s shallow draft and low wake make it ideal for patrol in shallow coral reef, seagrass and coral reef areas. A low boarding area and a state of the art electronic joystick control system will allow officers to safely inspect vessels and perform emergency response. The vessel will conduct multiple day patrols with a crew of four FWC officers.

Established in 2001, the Tortugas Ecological Reserve protects 151 square nautical miles in two sections. Tortugas North encompasses 90 square-nautical-miles of deep coral reefs, and Tortugas South, 60 square-nautical-miles that includes critical spawning grounds for commercially and recreationally important species of reef fish.

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary protects 2,896 square nautical miles of critical marine habitat, including coral reef, hard bottom, seagrass meadows, mangrove communities and sand flats.  NOAA and the state of Florida manage the sanctuary. Through a cooperative agreement between NOAA and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, a team of 17 officers enforces sanctuary regulations, working in partnership with the NOAA Office of Law Enforcement, the United States Coast Guard, national and state park service rangers and local authorities.   

The NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Program seeks to increase the public awareness of America’s marine resources and maritime heritage by conducting scientific research, monitoring, exploration and educational programs.  Today, the sanctuary program manages 13 national marine sanctuaries and one coral reef ecosystem reserve that together encompass more than 150,000 square miles of America’s ocean and Great Lakes natural and cultural resources.

The National Ocean Service, which oversees the National Marine Sanctuary Program, is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department. NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.  Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners and 60 countries to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes.  

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