Tuesday, November 23, 2010

San Diego Port Debuts New Fireboats

The Harbor Police for the Port of San Diego proudly debuted their two brand-new marine firefighting boats on Monday.

The FireStorm 36 fireboats, each costing just under $960,000, arrived at the port in September and are expected to be in full operation at the port by January.

The two 39-foot aluminum-hulled and jet-driven fireboats, which were built by Metal Craft Marine in Canada, replace older Harbor Police vessels, which have been in use for 35 years and according to the port authority, cost $80,000 annually to maintain. The port also faced new federal Environmental Protection Agency guidelines that would have required all port vessels to have complete engine retrofits by 2014.

"This is the state-of-the art technology that we have been seeking for our patrol functions and our firefighting functions," said Harbor Police Chief John A. Bolduc. "An added bonus is that we were able to incorporate several environmentally friendly concepts in their design."

Designed from the keel up as firefighting vessels, the two FireStorms are equipped with three water cannon that can each pump twice as much water as the apparatus on the vessels they are replacing. The new vessels can also respond about twice as fast as the older port fireboats.

"We have 22 square miles of water that we cover with vessels 24-7," Bolduc said. "It's very important that we have a very good strategy for protecting the bay, protecting the port and protecting the entire region."

The port police department is unique in that each of its officers are also trained firefighters.