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Border Patrol works with NY Naval Militia on Lake Champlain

Patrol Boat 230

The Border Patrol is again getting help from state authorities in inspecting pleasure boats on New York’s Lake Champlain on busy summer weekends.

Lake Champlain straddles the New York, Vermont and Canadian borders and allows boats from Canada to enter the U.S. Weekends in July and August see peak levels of pleasure craft, said the U.S. Border Patrol.

Members of the New York Naval Militia will assist the Border Patrol over five consecutive weekends from July 20 through Aug. 19, it said. A Naval Militia boat and two-man crew will join Border Patrol agents in inspecting boats entering the U.S. at Rouses Point, NY, and direct them to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection inspection station.

The New York Naval Militia is a component of the New York Military Forces-- including the Army and Air National Guard, said the Border Patrol.

The Border agency said it routinely mounts operations during the summer to remind boaters of the need to check-in as they enter the U.S. It said more than 2,000 boats enter U.S. waters from Canada through the Richelieu River into Lake Champlain each summer. During the peak boating season and high traffic periods of summer weekends, an estimated 100 to 150 boats will pass through the border daily, it said.

According to the Border Patrol, Naval Militia crews on Patrol Boat 230, a 25-foot boat that can hold 10 people, along with law enforcement agents on personal watercraft – will team with Border Patrol agents to meet with visiting boaters that do not report, explain the inspection process and direct them to the CBP inspection station.

The support on the waters of Lake Champlain allows the Border Patrol agents to better manage the flow of boaters passing through the CBP inspection station and respond to other safety and security needs on the lake.

"Our Naval Militia boat crews look forward to working with the Border Patrol each year on Lake Champlain," said Major General Patrick Murphy, the Adjutant General of New York. "Assisting federal, state and local authorities on New York's waterways is a mission these citizen sailors and marines train for regularly and enjoy."

“The Border Patrol continues to strengthen its law enforcement partnerships along the border by integrating our assets and personnel with our local, state, federal and tribal partners. We enjoy our partnership with the New York State Naval Militia as this unity of effort not only assists us with securing our nation’s border, but is also critical in engaging and educating our international boating community,” said Chief Patrol Agent John Pfeifer of the Swanton Sector.

Most of the 2,000 members of the Naval Militia are members of the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard Reserves who agree to perform state missions when needed at the order of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Five percent of the force are volunteers who are retired military members.

Naval Militia members man the nine boats of the New York Military Emergency Boat Service, but they also use their military skills in other missions useful to the state, said the Border Patrol, like the response to Tropical Storms Irene and Lee in 2011.

The Naval Militia maintains a fleet of nine patrol boats in its Military Emergency Boat Service (MEBS) which support law enforcement agencies, the U.S. Coast Guard and other federal agencies. The Naval Militia works regularly with the United States Coast Guard in New York Harbor, carrying inspection teams out to ships waiting offshore to enter the harbor aboard Patrol Board 440, a state-of-the-art patrol boat.


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