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Virginia Marine Police

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What We Do

The Virginia Marine Police are the front-line defenders of our tidal natural resources, and comprise the largest division within the Virginia Marine Resources Commission.

Originally formed in 1875 as the Oyster Navy, the Virginia Marine Police enforce state and federal commercial and recreational fishery laws and regulations. They have full law enforcement arrest powers throughout the Commonwealth.

Marine Police Officers also conduct search and rescue operations, enforce boating safety laws, respond to emergency calls, investigate boating accidents and criminal activity, and provide counter-terrorism patrols to our military installations, shipyards, nuclear power plants, and other high-value maritime assets.

The highly trained men and women of the Virginia Marine Police are dedicated to providing the highest standard of law enforcement service to the citizens of the Commonwealth and visitors.

Whether checking recreational fishing licenses, inspecting commercial fishermen for compliance, investigating boating accidents or conducting educational programs, Marine Police Officers provide a multitude of important public services. Education and enforcement forge an important tool that ensures the success of the agency's mission.

Uniform patrol is the cornerstone of the law enforcement division. To maximize deployment and to achieve greater flexibility in personnel, Marine Police Officers use a number of different vessels, vehicles and air support for law enforcement patrols.

Our Special Investigative Unit has a proven track record of success.

The marine mechanical staff located at the Operations Station ensures police vessels are kept in top running condition.

The communications division fields thousands of calls a year for a variety of dispatch services ranging in nature from a simple question pertaining to a regulation to dispatching police personnel to boating accidents.

For emergencies, boating accidents and to report violations call the Marine Police Dispatch Center toll free at (800) 541-4646.

Virginia Marine Police Officers are required to complete a state-mandated basic police academy. They then undergo a rigorous in-house training regime to learn maritime issues their specialized jobs require, including seafood and fishing regulations, boat handling, boat safety, and water rescue techniques.

To maintain their law enforcement certifications, each officer receives additional, on-going training every two years to maintain their proficiency in small arms, driving, boating under the influence recognition, first-aide and other areas. Roughly 20 percent of Virginia Marine Police Officers are certified training instructors.

New officers are also required to complete the Marine Law Enforcement Training Program held at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Georgia.

Through a cooperative law enforcement agreement between the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Marine Police Officers are deputized to enforce federal fish and wildlife laws. The strong bond between the agencies has proven to be a model in cooperative law enforcement.

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission also is part of a cooperative agreement with the United States Coast Guard that allows the Virginia Marine Police to enforce federally designated safety and security zones.

The men and women of the Virginia Marine Police serve a valuable, specialized role in public safety and fishery management, and continue a proud tradition of service, valor and professionalism in one of the oldest law enforcement agencies in the Commonwealth.

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