The DC Harbor Patrol is a critical, but largely unknown, part of the Metropolitan Police Department. The Harbor Patrol polices all of the rivers, inlets, and waterways that majestically surround our nation's capital. The 20-member unit encounters the same types of incidents that occur on DC streets including disorderly conduct, loud music, domestic violence, high-speed chases, and robbery suspects.
The Harbor Patrol has immense responsibilities: it oversees the marinas, regulates fishing and game, and makes sure boats are safe and meet safety regulations. The Patrol's main priority is to provide assistance if anyone gets into trouble on the water. The most common occurrences are capsized canoes or boats, caused by high winds, bad weather, or careless boaters. Most of the time, the well-trained team makes an easy rescue. There are a lot of roadways that run right along the side of the river—last year, numerous cars were pulled out of there. It's the most dangerous job that the Harbor Patrol faces—a rescue from a car in the water. The divers work against the clock and operate a four-man team—the primary diver; a time-keeper, who makes sure there is air in the tanks; a communications officer, gives directions and uses sonar; and a back-up diver, who rescues the primary diver if he becomes entangled.
More information on the MPD Harbor Patrol and safety tips are below.
- Harbor Patrol History
- Harbor Legal Requirements
- Boating Safety and Equipment Requirements
- Boating Safety Courses
- Personal Watercraft—Getting Underway
- Personal Watercraft—Preparation
- Preparing for Hurricanes or Severe Weather
- Harbor and Boating Safety Regulations
- Upcoming Events