AUGUSTA — A $3,200 grant from the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund combined with matching funds of $2,339.50 from the Department of Marine Resources have let the Marine Patrol buy new and stronger binoculars that will improve the force’s ability to conduct surveillance for law enforcement and its search and rescue capabilities.
The new 14 x 40 Fujinon Image Stabilization binoculars have been distributed to the Marine Patrol’s fleet of large patrol vessels throughout the state, replacing previous models that had only 7-power magnification.
“The enhanced magnification allows Marine Patrol officers to survey more area in greater detail,” Marine Patrol Col. Jon Cornish said in a written statement.
In recent years, a lot of fishing activity has moved into offshore waters.
“We made the decision last year that we needed to improve our ability to conduct surveillance of a fleet that is spread out over a greater area, and to build on our search and rescue capabilities,” Cornish said.
A decision was made to purchase binoculars with higher magnification, but because patrol vessels at sea are always in motion, just stronger binoculars were not practical. The more an image is magnified, the more unstable it becomes.
The stabilization technology of the new binoculars allows images at the higher 14-power magnification to remain in clear view as from the deck of a moving boat.
The waterproof binoculars are equipped with a hard plastic carrying case. The 40-mm objective (large end) lens diameter provides superior light gathering, which is important when working in low light conditions.
“We’ve gone from trying to identify boats that we can barely see on the horizon, to being able to see the antennas on boats before we can see the actual boat because it is still below the horizon!” Marine Patrol Officer Matthew Wyman said in a statement.
“It is common for the user of these new binoculars to point out vessels and fishing gear from such a great distance that the remaining officers aboard the boat have difficulty seeing what the user is describing. These will without a doubt be a useful tool for Marine Patrol conservation cases for many years to come,” Wyman said.
This binocular purchase was funded in part by the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, in which proceeds from the sale of a dedicated instant lottery ticket are used to support outdoor recreation and natural resources conservation.