The image of Magnum Marine is one of a great lifestyle in the sun, but there is also a serious side to the business that involves the military. The very qualities of Magnum boats that allow them to make passages in conditions when the prudent seaman stays in harbor makes the Magnum boats appeal to the military. For their fast patrol boats they are looking for craft that can perform better than the boats they are chasing. They want ruggedness and strength built into a boat that will not give up when the going gets tough. They want a Magnum.
Patrol boats have a hard life. They probably spend more hours at sea in a month than a leisure owner would spend in a year, so that they are subject to high levels of wear and tear. Reliability is paramount, as is crew comfort, and these are all factors that Magnum has learned from experience and builds into every boat that comes out of the yard.
When Magnum boats started to win world championships, the military became interested. Back in 1969, the US Coast Guard ordered five Magnum 27s in Sedan form to act as high-speed patrol boats, some of the fastest boats that the Coast Guard has ever operated. This was at a time when drug interdiction patrols were a priority in the Florida area and the reports say that these performance patrol boats had a big impact. The patrol boats were also used to guard the Winter White House at Key Biscayne when President Nixon was in residence and, amazingly, these patrol boats are still in service today, forty-two years after they were built.
The Dade County Police followed suit in 1978, with a pair of Magnum 27s, and in 1983, the US Customs Service ordered two Magnum 27’s as well. The Customs patrol boats were powered with twin Volvo Penta 290 gasoline engines driving through stern drives.
The Customs were full of praise for the boats, writing in a letter to Magnum: “The two Magnums have now been in service for 90 days, performing narcotics smuggling interdiction missions. In that capacity, they have been required to perform high-speed pursuit and response functions, frequently under adverse sea conditions. Obviously they are subjected to severe impact and stress. Our boat captains have expressed only the highest praise for the patrol boats, commenting particularly on their handling characteristics and strength.”
“ The two Magnums which you have provided now join our third Magnum, which was built in 1972, seized for narcotic smuggling, forfeited by the Court, and put into official service in 1976. It remains in service today and is still considered a favorite pursuit craft by our captains…thank you…for your excellent workmanship.”
Magnum again proves its endurance, strength, seaworthiness, and resilience. No other boat – and especially no other pleasure boat – could endure this stress for so many years and still perform magnificently.