On Thursday in the Edgartown Harbor, four small boats flanked a 45-foot Coast Guard boat as part of a tactical training course offered by the Massachusetts Environmental Police. As the Coast Guard boat chugged along, the four boats, manned by Edgartown police and fire, New Bedford police, Quincy police and Boston police, responded to numerous simulated threats.

It was a game of nautical cat and mouse and acronyms like HVA (high value asset) and TOI (target of interest) were tossed around as the boats coordinated the protection of the boat they were escorting.

Coast Guard was also part of the training. — Mark Lovewell

The course ran for a full week and included classroom sessions and hands-on training. Fourteen officers in total took the course, six from Edgartown.

Many of the local police officers taking the course were not new to the harbor. Edgartown police officer Ryan Ruley spent his high school summers working as an assistant to Edgartown harbormaster Charlie Blair. Mr. Ruley now heads the only full time marine unit on the Island, working alongside Det. Mike Snowden, who also got his start on the harbor with Mr. Blair.

Mr. Blair was in attendance on Thursday. “The training is invaluable,” he said. “All marine units are first responders....Who do you want taking care of you, me or the paramedic? I use a lot of duct tape.”

The marine unit is on the water in the summer season from Thursday through Sunday and mostly charged with education. They patrol the harbors, trying to talk to as many boaters as they can. But with training, the unit will now be able to assist in more specialized assignments.

It was a nautical version of cat and mouse. — Mark Lovewell

“Should a large event happen, because this is the national standard, they can request a tactical operating course certified boat operator,” said lead instructor, Lieut. Robert Aiken of the Massachusets Environmental Police. This is particularly applicable to the Island because of the ferry traffic.

The tactical operating course is the third course the environmental police have offered, Mr. Aiken said. Training began with basics, like how to pull a boat away from a dock. The second course focused on search and rescue.

Edgartown police chief David Rossi said it was because of the excellent relationship the police have with the state environmental police that they were able to offer this training.

“I think it’s awesome to see the cooperation of the agencies,” he said. “This was all done on their own time, making sure we have training.”