New Patrol Boat for Richardson Bay

A customized version of the Firestorm 36 will give Southern Marin firefighters broad capabilities  |  photo from Metalcraft Marine  |  post by Larry Clinton

The Southern Marin Fire Protection District is acquiring a new state-of-the-art fireboat, which will be berthed at Pelican Yacht Harbor, across from the Sausalito Fire Station. It will be able to operate in as little as three feet of water and respond to emergencies in our community within 5-6 minutes. It replaces a similar boat, which has been in service since 2004, has aged rapidly in the saltwater environment and has increasingly been out of service for repairs.

The new boat is a customized version of the Firestorm 36, manufactured by Metalcraft Marine in Ontario, Canada.

Last week, Captain Matt Bouchard expressed excitement over the new vessel’s enhanced capabilities after visiting the manufacturer to specify certain features which will allow it to undertake a wide range of activities. He explained that the acquisition was partially funded by a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Port Security Grant, so the boat will also have anti-terrorist equipment, including radiation detectors, side-scan sonar, infrared cameras, encrypted communication systems, rescue equipment and scuba gear.

The boat will have twin jet drives, which will help it stay on station when spraying water, making it more effective at fighting fires. It can also respond to hazmat containment (such as after a sinking), or a boat or floating home taking on water.

The boat is expected to be delivered in October. A christening ceremony will be announced in Sausalito Currents and other local media.

The Marin Sheriff’s Department has also announced plans to replace its current patrol boat with a similar-sized 33-foot inflatable from SAFE Boats International, based in Bremerton, WA.

According to Scott Harrington, Southern Marin Station Commander, the new Marine Rescue II will be delivered by year end. Berthed at Richardson Bay Marina, it will respond to crimes on the water, violations of navigational law and marine rescues. The Sheriff works cooperatively with the SMFPD, so a call to 911 should summon either or both vessels.