Report: Expensive Boat Purchased By State Gets Sporadic Use

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Bureau of Reclamation combined to spend $535,000 on a research vessel, but due to design flaws it’s only been used a handful of times, the Sacramento Bee reports according to a California State Auditor file. Here’s more from The Bee:

A modified hull makes the craft difficult to “steer straight.” Its helm was installed on the opposite side of what’s normal, obstructing the driver’s view. When its gas tank is full, it lists to one side and can’t reach cruising speed. And problems with the hoisting mechanism for its nets create safety issues due to possible interference with other boats and objects, the report says. …

The Fish and Wildlife department has operated the boat just 14 times, according to the report. It typically uses other, less specialized boats around 10 days per month, the report says.

The department told the auditor a new program manager will oversee its vessel operations, a marine surveyor will inspect research boats each year and a vessel operator will support operations, maintenance and inspections moving forward.