A proposal from Tisbury police to test out a new marine patrol unit is on ice for now after town officials expressed concerns over the cost.

Tisbury police chief Christopher Habekost pitched a pilot program to the town’s select board Wednesday in which the department would borrow a state environmental police boat this summer to patrol the town’s waterways.

But without a budget for the program some board members were hesitant to back the idea.

“I’d love to support it, don’t get me wrong, but today I can’t,” said board chairman Roy Cutrer. “I just don’t think we’re ready.”

Mr. Habekost proposed the pilot program as a way to keep Vineyard Haven waters safe. Environmental police would allow the town to borrow the boat for free, and the department would only have to cover the cost of staffing, fueling and maintenance.

“As a year-round port, there is clearly a need for this and [it] would allow our department to have the ability to respond with trained personnel to any emergency waterway incidents and assist other agencies,” the department’s proposal read.

As the only town with a year-round ferry terminal and a busy harbor, Mr. Habekost said the department in the past has responded to calls for fires, domestic violence and other incidents on the water, but the department doesn’t have their own boat that officers could use at a moment’s notice.

“We’ve talked to people in the community and we’ve got a lot of support for this,” he said.

Tisbury harbormaster John Crocker said he’s requested police assistance about five times in the last 16 years. Oak Bluffs and Edgartown also have dedicated marine patrol boats.

Mr. Habekost planned to pay boat patrols through overtime pay. Officer’s shifts on the boat would be in addition to their regular schedule. The program was not included in this year’s budget approved at town meeting.

He estimated it would cost about $1,000 a weekend to have officers out on the boat, and said a total could roughly cost about $20,000.

The department had raised the idea of a marine patrol with the finance committee in budget talks this year, but committee member Rachel Orr was caught off guard that police wanted to do it this summer.

“The chief let us know that he was hoping in the future to have a police presence and a police boat,” she said. “It was not my understanding from our meeting that it would be in this fiscal year, or that it would be happening this summer or that overtime funds would be used for it.”

Town administrator John Grande was also uncomfortable with the idea as presented, saying he had concerns about cutting into the department’s overtime budget for the pilot program.

“I feel like we are missing a piece here in the process,” he said.

A motion to just support the idea in general failed, with board members John Cahill voting no, Mr. Cutrer abstaining, and Christina Colarusso voting in favor.

Mr. Cutrer said he would reconsider the plan if Chief Habekost could come back with more details.