By Mark Edward Nero
A new $11.8 million fireboat designed by Jensen Maritime Consultants of Seattle and built by Vigor Fab in Seattle was commissioned by the San Francisco Fire Dept. during an Oct. 17 ceremony at McCovey Cove in San Francisco.
The state-of-the-art 88-foot vessel’s name, St. Francis, was also unveiled during the event. The fireboat’s naming came as a result of a contest was open to San Francisco school-aged children early this year. The child that submitted the winning name, along with their family, attended the event.
St. Francis was under construction off and on for about 20 months. Manufacture of the new boat was delayed several times for various reasons; at one point, the electrical subcontractor company working on it went bankrupt.
The fireboat was finally delivered to the city of San Francisco in late July after a three-day journey from the Pacific Northwest.
The vessel, formerly known only as Fireboat 3, is capable of pumping 18,000 gallons per minute through five water cannons. She is equipped with a stern launch ramp, similar to those US Coast Guard cutters use to deploy pursuit boats to capture smugglers.
Other features of the new vessel include: an enhanced foam firefighting system for the suppression of petroleum-based fires; a patient treatment area for EMS response; radiation detection equipment; remote firefighting systems to prevent firefighters being exposed to heat and smoke; a rapid deployment rescue boat; advanced marine electronics; command center; and an on-board compressor for filling air bottles for firefighting and dive operations.
The SF Fire Dept. says it paid for the new boat mostly with a port security grant along with $400,000 from the Bay Area Urban Areas Security Initiative.
The SFFD also has two other fireboats in service: Guardian, which entered service in 1990, and Phoenix, which was commissioned in 1955.