San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rica police to patrol rivers, canals of Puntarenas

The province of Puntarenas celebrated the addition of two high-tech police boats, each worth ¢17 million ($30,900), to its police force Monday. The boats will navigate the rivers and canals of the Nicoya Peninsula and Gulf of Nicoya, stops along international drug trafficking and illegal immigration routes.

The new boats are outfitted with GPS navigation equipment, a computerized motor, as well as a loudspeaker system to communicate with boats under investigation.

The craft given to Puntarenas are two of five planned to be put into use around the country. The other three boats will navigate the rivers and channels of Los Chiles and Sarapiquí, in the north-central region of the country, and Tortuguero and Limón, on the Caribbean.

Nineteen National Police officials received the qualification to pilot the boats after graduating from a 90-hour intensive course, where they learned basic boat maintenance and tide reading, among other skills.

The acquisition of the boats comes as part of the National Police´s

“Oleaje de Pacífico” (Pacific swell) operation, which was launched Jan. 14. Prior to that, the Coast Guard carried out such waterway patrols.

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