By Jonathan Phelps
---- — IPSWICH — The town’s new police boat is almost ready to hit the open seas. All it needs now is a name.
To complete the task, the Police Department has reached out to elementary school students for help. They’ve set up a naming contest, and each student can submit one suggestion by the May 29 deadline.
“I was thinking, ‘Geez, we need to name the boat,’” said police Chief Paul Nikas. “I spoke with my harbor unit and we really couldn’t come up with a clear-cut name.”
Nikas said the idea for the contest came out of a meeting with Town Manager Robin Crosbie.
The winning name will be selected by a committee made up of Nikas, Patrolman Brian Reed and an elementary school teacher, Nikas said. The name will be revealed at Crane Beach Picnic Day on June 17.
“We are looking forward to the names,” Nikas said. “There should be some interesting ones.”
The town’s current boat does not have a name, but the one before it went by the name Chrissy. Nikas said he was thinking about naming it the “Chrissy II,” but decided it should have a new name.
Police got the boat — a used, 25-foot Defender Class law enforcement and rescue vessel — for free after it was deemed surplus by the U.S. Coast Guard. It was stationed in Freeport, Texas, before being shipped to town on a flatbed truck last month.
The boat itself was free, but the town paid for it to be shipped and outfitted with new engines and other equipment, at a total cost of $65,000 to $75,000. The boat costs about $280,000 new, Nikas said.
Nikas said there has been excitement about the contest, with parents approaching officers saying their kids plan to participate.
“(The boat) represents Ipswich as much as my department,” Nikas said. “The beach and waterways are a big part of this community, and I think having a local student come up with a name is great.”
The winner of the contest will get a ride on the boat on Crane Beach Day plus a $20 gift card to Dairy Queen. The second-place winner will receive a $20 gift card, and the third-place winner will receive a $15 gift card.
The department will be testing the boat this week.
“It should be operational within the next week or so,” Nikas said.