CBP’s New Coastal Interceptor Vessel

MarineLink is reporting,

“SAFE Boats International informs it has been awarded a contract from U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to build up to 52 coastal interceptor vessels (CIV). Should all options be executed, the contract value would exceed $48 million.”

SAFE 41 Center Console—Offshore, from which the CIV is derived

It is perhaps interesting to contrast this boat with the Coast Guard’s Response Boat Medium (CRB-M). The CIV is optimized for speed, while the RB-M, although still relatively fast,  is optimized for staying power. The CIV is apparently powered by four outboard motors while the RB-M is powered by two inboard diesels. This gives the CIV its greater 54 knot speed compared to RB-M’s 42 knots.  The engine choice suggest that the RB-M has greater range. The RB-M provides greater protection from the elements for the crew and equipment. This again suggests that the CIVs are not expected to stay underway as long, and perhaps additionally, that they are only expected to operate in relatively mild climates like Southern California and Florida. The closed cockpits of the RB-Ms would also make communications, necessary for coordinated operations, easier, because of the lower noise level.

It appears that while the CIV cost slightly less than $1M each the RB-Ms cost slightly less than $2.5M each.

In addition to the CIV, SAFE Boats is also making the “Over the Horizon” cutter boat for the Coast Guard and the Mk VI patrol boat for the Navy.


20 thoughts on “CBP’s New Coastal Interceptor Vessel

  1. OK, this begs the question. WHY Is CBP getting a new boat when the USCG is not getting any. I think we need to merge curtain functions of CBP and the USCG into one.

    • I think, why is there a CBP organization that duplicates something the Coast Guard does is a reasonable question.

      But it is not true that they are getting boats and we are not. They CG just completed acquisition of 174 RB-Ms. We have also been getting new cutter boats and smaller 25 foot response boats.

      • Chuck yes the CBP Air and Marine division is huge and overlaps the USCG assets as well. They have a number of Midnight Express open boats like this. Mostly interceptors rather than long patrols as I understand it.

      • It begs the question, why hasn’t congress merged the functions of the CBP Air and Marine division with the USCG. Even I think NOAA should have folded with the USCG as well.

  2. What are the CBP going to buy for Washington and Maine to stop those naughty Canuks coming south?

    The size of the buy to me as a Brit is staggering.

    • It is a lot of boats, but it is really not much money, up to $48M and if we assume four crew members associated with each boat that is still only 208 people, not a lot more than on a single 378.

      • That would be 208 crew per tour so the manning levels surely would be three to four times more than that?

        No you are right it isn’t much money per hull. While having my extended “moan” about the UK’s poor inshore security capability over at Think Defence I composed a small post about police aviation in the UK. The majority of the UK’s National Police Air Service is made up of Eurocpter EC135’s with well over 20 in service at £7 million per copy. Admittedly the helicopters do cover the whole of the UK but the cost of operations compared to boats is factors higher. Compare that £7 million unit cost to….


        Hampshire is the only true maritime policing unit in the UK (excepting the Met’s MPU which is riverine and the MoD Police.) but it is tiny. Their webpage clearly states,

        “the Marine Unit is heavily involved in daily tasks relating to the security of our coastal borders.”

        Does make me wonder about the rest of our coast then.

        Dorset has RIBs to patrol Poole harbour. Dyfed and Powys have RIBs to patrol Milford Haven. Kent, Northumbria, and a confederation of services in north west England have diving units with boats. And there are tiny port police organisations at Tilbury, Liverpool, Felixstowe, Bristol, and Dover but they are concerned with the security of the ports and they don’t all have boats. Compared to the continent it is very scant.

      • My impression is that while the UK has many of the same problem we do, their approach is a patchwork. While we have an overarching federal approach, the UK has lots of local fixes that seem more focused in mission and geography. Scottish fisheries, Ministry of Defence Police, Maritime and Coast Guard Agency, UK Border Agency, several ships specific to overseas territories, the Lifeboat Institute, fisheries done by the RN, SAR aviation done by the RN, RAF and civilian contract. Seems it would make it difficult for them to cooperate, and, with such small numbers in many of these agencies, I would think it would mean there are occasional gaps because of casualties.

        You could probably name some other UK agencies in the mix, including the ones above. We also have some overlap as between CG and state agencies and between CG and Customs and Border Protection, but at least to our eyes it seems less confusing.

    • go check the length of the USA coastal waters and you folks from small islands might get the need for many such boats.
      I am sure is you add up all the UK forces, their hull numbers would go up?

    • Did I detect a little sarcasm about the naughty Canuks? I’m retired from CBP and have worked both the Canadian and Mexican border. There are a lot of organized Korean and Chinese alien smuggling rings in the Vancouver B.C. area. Canadians don’t have to sneak across, they legally take our jobs away using the immigration provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement. A lot of drug trafficking too. The second largest Hell’s Angels club in the world is in B.C. They operate most of the drug traffic up there. Ecstasy and B.C. bud going south and cocaine going north. As far as CBP operating P-3s they provide important real time intelligence to CG assets in the eastern Pacific and Caribbean. They have even dropped repair parts to cutters at sea on patrol. And yes CBP does have air and marine assets in Washington and Maine.

    • CBP Orions include AEW aircraft.
      I could not find specific references, but when the Coast Guard buys a new class of boat, the buy frequently also includes boats for the CBP and/or the Navy.

      x, as I have noted before the USCG now has more personnel than the UK’s Royal Navy. We also have a pretty good sized USCG air force.

      • I know about USCG air assets I just didn’t know about CBP air assets beyond their rather oddly liveried helicopters.

        Our defence isn’t our government’s priority. They would rather borrow £12bn per year to give away in Third World so that Third World government officials can buy nice cars off the Germans, electronics from East Asia, and American consumer goods. Apparently it keeps us safer. Tell that to the relatives of those who died on that beech last Friday.

        This is was in my YouTube play list this morning. Something I bet the UCSG don’t do……….

  3. X a quick search for CBP OAM Office of Air and Maine would give you this:

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) Office of Air and Marine (OAM) is a critical component of CBP’s risk-based and layered approach for border security. With 1,200 federal agents, more than 250 aircraft and over 280 marine vessels operating from 91 locations throughout the United States and Puerto Rico. CBP detects, intercepts, and apprehends criminals in diverse environments at and beyond U.S. borders.

  4. @ Chuck

    Our Coastguard and the RNLI do exercise together frequently. The former specialise in shore side rescue. In a way the RNLI are the Coastguard de facto afloat resource, All our SAR helicopters are now civilians using S92. A helicopter I wish our services had a good hard look at for trooping.

    My moan is with law enforcement and border control more than life saving. As you have said before intelligence is OK if you have the asset in play to deal with it. And as I have said before I don’t think our continental cousins buy boats to patrol inshore just for the giggles.

    I will have to stop moaning about it.

    Thanks for indulging me Chuck.

    Oh! Happy Independence Day.

  5. @ Chuck

    The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (our equivalent of state) would even give the Isle of Wight away if they thought they could get away with it and somebody wanted it. Our political classes see us as a European region not sovereign and defending borders runs contrary to that position. My country has had clearly defined borders since 927AD yet those who lead us would gladly consign us to history.

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