SOUTH PORTLAND (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- The boats used by the Maine Marine Patrol are getting bigger and faster to better safeguard the state's coastline and waterways.

The newest addition to the fleet made its public debut Wednesday, Oct. 10, at the Coast Guard station in South Portland. At a length of 31 feet, it’s an upgrade in size and speed over the vessel that previously served the area.

Marine Patrol leaders said they will use the boat primarily to help enforce fisheries regulations. But if the need arises, it is also equipped to assist with homeland security operations.

The boat is called the Impact, and that’s not just a name. It also represents the effect its crew hopes it will have on their work.

"It can approach speeds over 50 mph, so it’s for quick response," said Col. Johnathan Cornish, chief of the Maine Marine Patrol. "And also, it’s a very seaworthy boat. Officers have had it out in some pretty good seas, and it’s handled very well. That’s important to us as well because, it’s calm up in the harbor today, but it won’t be calm when you get outside."

Begun two years ago, the process to acquire the boat was only finalized with the help of funding from two grants.