The U.S. Coast Guard utilizes a fleet of fast and nimble patrol boats as part of Homeland Security, and they’re making sure they won’t run out of gas. Powered by a pair of 225 hp Honda four-stroke outboards, these 25-footers carry just 125 gallons of gas and depend on FloScan fuel monitoring equipment to bring them home. Whatever the mission of the boats, part of the Coast Guard’s MSST (Maritime Safety and Security Team) program, they need to watch their fuel usage. Top speed is over 40 knots, and at wide-open-throttle, the burn rate will deplete the fuel supply fairly quickly, a Coast Guardsman noted.
FloScan's TwinScan instrument monitors both the remaining fuel supply and the burn rate in terms of gallons per hour which allows the skipper to regulate his speed according to the needs of the mission. This model displays gallons-per-hour for port and starboard engines with aircraft-style, illuminated opposing pointers, plus a lighted digital display of total fuel consumed.
FloScan uses fail-safe, opto-electronic sensors in the fuel lines to gain accurate fuel consumption data to send to the single, 3-3/8 inch meter. The boats, manufactured by Safe Boats International of Port Orchard, Washington, are of aluminum construction, with the hull surrounded by a collar of closed cell polyethylene foam, making it look like a hybrid inflatable. They have an enclosed pilot house with a radar pod that folds down quickly so the boat can be loaded onto a C-130 transport, one of the many Coast Guard requirements. Safe Boats International has delivered over 500 of these Defender-class boats to the Coast Guard. They’ll be used on anti-terrorism Homeland Security, port security, law enforcement and search-and-rescue missions.