New amphibious craft has first mission
Marco police’s latest piece of hi-tech equipment – an amphibious “Quadski” – was used just days after its acquisition to respond to a July 4 distress call.
About 7 p.m., Collier County Dispatch activated the local MERT (Marine Emergency Response Team) following a call from a cellphone on Marco Beach near Residents Beach about a swimmer possibly in distress.
Marco P.D. marine officer Josh Ferris collected the Quadski from a storage area provided by the Marco Island Civic Association at Residents Beach, and after he drove across the beach and launched into the surf, the location was updated to an area near the Apollo Condos near South Beach.
Doing a quick survey of the area approximately 400 feet from the shoreline, Ferris found a man floating with just his head above water, but discovered he was not in distress.
“I can understand why someone would think this was a person having a problem based upon what I could observe,” said Ferris. “The subject insisted that he could swim in and did so,” Ferris said.
“I did meet the person who initiated the call and thanked them,” he said. “We rely on the citizens to be alert to this type of incident and not be afraid to make the call; they are our eyes and ears out here and can really help avoid an unnecessary tragedy,” said Ferris.
The donation of the Quadski came about due to the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Battaglia who own the Rockland Bakery in New York and also have a home here on Marco Island.
“They came to us with this generous offer to provide the community with this great asset,” said Chief Al Schettino. “It was just a wonderful offer on their part and the city is so grateful for their kindness in making this a reality,” said Schettino.
Quadski amphibians are considered cutting edge automotive and marine devices with a light weight composite hull, a unique water jet / suspension system – while powered by a BMW K1300 engines. It can run 40mph on both the land and the water.
“My wife and I saw the potential for saving lives with this type of equipment and were happy to make the donation to the city” said Phillip Battaglia on Saturday as the city demonstrated the new equipment for the community to see.