California gets powerful pair of fireboats; security keeps patrol sector strong
Courtesy Vigor
New fireboats in 2016 included San Francisco’s Fireboat 3.

Two impressive West Coast arrivals paced the fireboat sector in 2016, with the delivery of Protector to the Port of Long Beach and Fireboat 3 to the San Francisco Fire Department. SAFE Boats International, Willard Marine and Metal Shark continued a steady pace of deliveries in the patrol boat sector, while Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding’s dominance in the pilot boat arena continued with a host of new vessels for maritime operators across the country. 

Protector is American Ship Review’s Ship of the Year, and for good reason. The 108-by-35-foot fireboat has twin Caterpillar 3512C mains and three Cat pump engines, Voith- Schneider cycloidal propellers and 10 monitors capable of firing an impressive 41,000 gallons of water per minute. Protector was designed by Robert Allan Ltd. and built by Foss Maritime (see the profile).

Fireboat 3, delivered to the San Francisco Fire Department in July, is plenty impressive in its own right. The 88-by-25-foot vessel, designed by Jensen Maritime Consultants and built by Vigor, has three Cummins QSK19-M Tier 3 engines for propulsion and pumping power. Fully loaded, its top speed is 11.5 knots.

Firefighting systems aboard Fireboat 3 include three Counterfire ESF 300-550 pumps and four cannons capable of 18,000 gpm. In addition to pump power, the two outboard engines also provide 591 hp at 1,800 rpm for propulsion from the front of the engines. Propulsion power is transmitted via a Centa CX-56 torsional coupling and a Reintjes WAF 364 reduction gear provided by Karl Senner. All three engines are mounted on Christie & Grey TSC T-10 vibration isolators.

The fireboat is the third in the city’s fleet and its first new arrival in more than 60 years. It was slated to be given a new name before its christening in October.

Moose Boats of Petaluma, Calif., built two of its 38-foot M2 aluminum catamaran fireboats for municipalities on both coasts in the past year.

Nathan Folse for the Port of South Louisiana

Courtesy Metal Shark

The Bellingham Fire Department in Washington took delivery of Salish Star in late summer 2015 and it entered service a few weeks later. The vessel has twin 425-hp Cummins QSB6 turbo diesel engines, Twin Disc gears and HamiltonJet HJ292 waterjets. Firefighting equipment consists of dual front-end Hale fire pumps, Akron valves and Elkhart fire monitors. Flow capacity is 3,000 gpm.

Moose also delivered Jesse Pacheco to the New Bedford Fire Department in Massachusetts in the summer of 2016. Its firefighting and emergency response package includes side-scanning sonar and dual firefighting monitors with a flow capacity of 1,500 gpm.

Metal Shark of Jeanerette, La., delivered fireboats to two agencies in Louisiana and another in Florida. The Plaquemines Port, Harbor and Terminal District in Bell Chasse, La., purchased a 55 Defiant fireboat outfitted with twin Caterpillar C18 engines paired with HamiltonJet waterjets. Firefighting equipment includes three monitors — two on the roof and one on the bow — capable of 10,000 gpm. It also has a 300-gallon foam reservoir.

The Port of South Louisiana purchased a 75-foot aluminum catamaran based on Metal Shark’s Endurance design. Nathan Folse has three radio-controlled monitors that can dispense up to 6,000 gpm, and a separate reservoir contains 400 gallons of foam. Propulsion comes from two Cat C18 diesel engines capable of 25-knot cruising speeds.

The Iona-McGregor Fire Protection and Rescue Service District in Lee County, Fla., took delivery of a 32-foot aluminum monohull for its primary fire and rescue operations. The vessel features twin 350-hp Yamaha outboards and can travel at 50 knots.

The boat has a Darley 2-1/2AGE fire pump located aft of the pilothouse and a manually operated bow monitor with foam capability. The pump also feeds hand lines from the stern, according to Metal Shark.

Armstrong Marine delivered a 32-foot monohull for the Coeur D’Alene (Idaho) Fire Department. The fireboat was deployed on four calls during its first month of service.

Courtesy Armstrong Marine

Silver Ships of Theodore, Ala., delivered a 32-foot aluminum fireboat to the Islip Fire Department on New York’s Long Island. The vessel features a 1,000-gpm roof-mounted Stang fire monitor, three 300-hp Mercury outboard engines and a Kodiak marine engine running the fire pump. Two small push knees were installed on the bow. 

Wisconsin’s Lake Assault Boats delivered a 28-foot fireboat to the Conroe Fire Department in Conroe, Texas, for patrols and rescues on the 21,000-acre Lake Conroe. Fireboat 6 has a modified V-hull design and bow door for water rescues. Propulsion comes from twin 250-hp Honda engines and firefighting equipment includes a monitor capable of 500 gpm.

Armstrong Marine of Port Angeles, Wash., delivered three fireboats in the past year to departments across the U.S. 

For the Coeur d’Alene Fire Department in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, the yard built a 32-foot aluminum monohull. Propulsion comes from twin 250-hp Mercury Verado outboard motors. 

Firefighting equipment consists of a Darley PSDE 1500 fire pump capable of 1,500 gpm driven by a KEM 6.0L GM pump engine. The vessel has a roof-mounted Task Force Tips Hurricane remote monitor. The fireboat working on Lake Coeur d’Alene also features a bow door for faster water rescues, an FRC audible alarm and a Pompanette Deluxe helm chair. 

Armstrong’s 32-foot vessel for the Boston Fire Department, named Father Dan, is an aluminum catamaran. Propulsion comes from twin Mercury Verado 250-hp outboards with a hydraulic power steering system while service power comes from a Northern Lights 5-kW diesel generator. 

Rozema Boat Works delivered G.M. Penman to the Western Canada Marine Response Corp. in late 2015.

Courtesy Rozema Boat Works

The vessel stationed at Battery Wharf in Boston’s North End features dual Waterous PB18-4025B pumps capable of 375 gpm, an Elkhart Sidewinder monitor and a Waterous RTP foam injection system with a 25-gallon foam tank. The vessel is outfitted with a Raymarine navigation and electronics suite and two Icom 504 VHF radios. 

Armstrong also delivered a 32-foot aluminum catamaran fireboat to the Sullivan’s Island Fire and Rescue Department located near Charleston, S.C. The vessel is powered by twin Mercury Verado 300-hp engines with a Mercury power steering system and SS Mercury props. 

Firefighting equipment includes a Darley HE 64-hp Hercules water pump capable of 575 gpm and an Elkhart Sidewinder monitor. The vessel has Garmin navigation and communications equipment and a Ritchie magnetic compass. 

G.M. Penman built by Rozema Boat Works in Mount Vernon, Wash., is not a fireboat, but it is a noteworthy and rare oil spill response vessel with few equals in use around the world.

The 65-foot vessel was delivered in late 2015 to the Western Canada Marine Response Corp. It has twin 1,600-hp Caterpillar engines that can propel the boat to 26 knots. G.M. Penman also has Lamor oil skimming brushes capable of removing 32 tons per hour and a deck-mounted reel with 1,500 feet of 42-inch Kepner ocean boom. 

G.M. Penman joins Western Canada Marine Response’s 32-vessel fleet, which includes two other OSRVs built by Rozema. However, with overnight accommodations for five people, G.M. Penman is the lone vessel in the fleet that can work continuously for several days without resupply. 

The 65-foot oil spill responder G.M. Penman can deploy 1,500 feet of containment boom.

Courtesy Rozema Boat Works

Demand for new pilot boats appeared to cool off in 2016, with some of the best-known builders in the sector looking for new orders but making few deliveries. Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding was an exception, completing new vessels for pilot companies across the U.S.

In October 2015, Gladding-Hearn delivered Manatee, a 53-foot aluminum Chesapeake-class launch, or Chesapeake MKII, to the Tampa Bay Pilots Association in Florida. C. Raymond Hunt Associates of New Bedford, Mass., designed the vessel.

Propulsion for Manatee comes from twin Volvo Penta IPS 650 engines producing 503 hp. The engines are linked to IPS 2 pod drives and a Volvo Penta EPS steering system. Auxiliary power comes from a single 12-kW Alaska Diesel generator. A Humphree Interceptor trim control system allows the boat to travel at up to 27 knots while achieving better fuel efficiency.

Interior options include a STIDD low-back helm seat and four STIDD high-back reclining pilot seats. The vessel also comes equipped with a Matesaver rescue noose. 

In November 2015, Gladding-Hearn announced delivery of a Chesapeake-class launch to the Pilots’ Association for the Bay and River Delaware. The 53-foot J.P. Virden, designed by C. Raymond Hunt Associates, is the third that Gladding-Hearn has built for the Delaware pilots.

This “no frills” vessel was built with simplicity and high performance in mind, and it features an unpainted hull to reduce maintenance. Propulsion comes from twin Volvo Penta 650-hp engines, while the interior has STIDD seating. The vessel also has a Humphree Interceptor automatic trim control system. 

Salish Star from Moose Boats provides Washington’s Bellingham Fire Department with 3,000 gpm of protection.

Courtesy Moose Boats

In spring 2016, the Sabine Pilots of Port Arthur, Texas, took delivery of its first pilot boat from Gladding-Hearn. Port Arthur, an all-aluminum Chesapeake-class vessel, is powered by twin Caterpillar C18 diesels rated at 715 hp at 2,100 rpm. The engines turn five-blade nibral propellers through Twin Disc MGX-5135A Quick Shift gear boxes. Fully loaded, the vessel can travel at 28 knots.

Like other recent Gladding-Hearn deliveries, Port Arthur features a Humphree Interceptor trim tab system installed at the transom. A 12-kW Alaska Diesel genset provides auxiliary power. The vessel also has a winch-operated rescue basket. The interior consists of eight Llebroc seats, head, galley and two forward settee berths.

The company also announced an order from the Alabama Bar Pilots for a 53-foot Chesapeake-class vessel similar to Port Arthur. The Alabama boat will have twin Caterpillar C18 diesels, nibral props and Twin Disc gears. Auxiliary power comes from a 9-kW Northern Lights Tier 3 genset. Delivery is expected in mid-2017. 

Gladding-Hearn will deliver Huron Spirit to the Lakes Pilots Association of Port Huron, Mich., in fall 2016. Peter Duclos, president of Gladding-Hearn, said the vessel will have similar specifications and components as other recent Chesapeake-class deliveries. 

In the tropics, Viking Welding and Fabrication of Kensington, N.H., delivered the 32-foot pilot boat Earl Larry Finch II to the Virgin Islands Port Authority. The welded aluminum craft replaces Earl Larry Finch, an older pilot boat removed from service after sustaining damage during a storm. 

The new vessel, the second in the VIPA fleet, will escort cruise ships, freighters and other vessels into harbors on St. Croix, according to port authority Executive Director Carlton Dowe. The boat features twin 300-hp Evinrude E-TEC engines.

Kvichak Marine, now Vigor, delivered a 45-foot response boat-medium C to the New York Police Department. The Camarc-designed patrol boat has a pair of Detroit Diesel engines and can top 40 knots.

Courtesy Vigor

The New York Police Department’s Harbor Unit took delivery in spring of its fourth 45-foot response boat-medium C, or RB-M C. The vessel built by Kvichak Marine (now Vigor) is similar to the response boat-medium model favored by the U.S. Coast Guard. Camarc Design collaborated on the NYPD vessel blueprint.

The new police patrol boat has two Detroit Diesel 60 series engines, Twin Disc MG5114SC marine gears and Rolls-Royce Kamewa FF375S waterjets for a top speed that exceeds 40 knots. A Kohler 9-kW genset provides the vessel’s AC power.

The Vigor response boat design for commercial customers features additional crew amenities but the same capabilities as its military model, according to Art Parker, Vigor business development manager.

“(Kvichak/Vigor) has built six RB-M Cs for three different police departments to date and is in active negotiations for more at home and abroad,” he said in a prepared statement that also highlighted Vigor’s efforts to expand its foreign sales.

On Long Island, the Southampton Bay Constables took delivery in late 2015 of a 21-foot center console vessel from Silver Ships. The aluminum craft is based on the company’s Freedom 21 model for solo operations using a design from naval architect Lou Codega of Smithfield, Va. The vessel features a 250-hp Mercury Verado outboard engine and Raymarine navigation and communications equipment. 

Silver Ships delivered another patrol boat to the Southampton Bay Constables in early 2016 based on its Freedom 25 model. The aluminum vessel has a full pilothouse with climate control technology.

Alexandria, a 41-foot interceptor from SAFE Boats, serves U.S. Customs and Border Protection. With a top speed of 54 knots, it can outrun just about anything on the water.

Courtesy SAFE Boats International

The Vermont State Police Marine Division took delivery in late 2015 of a 25-foot rigid-hull inflatable vessel (RHIB) from RIBCRAFT of Marblehead, Mass., for patrol and search-and-rescue operations on Lake Champlain. The vessel is designed as an offshore fast response craft, and with its single 300-hp Evinrude E-TEC G2 engine, it can exceed 50 knots.

The RHIB is the third in the Vermont State Police fleet. It has a center console, bench seating, an open aft deck, crash rail and tube reinforcement package.

Moose Boats delivered a 35-foot aluminum catamaran patrol boat to the Placer County (Calif.) Sheriff’s Office for use on Lake Tahoe. The vessel, based on Moose’s M2-35 platform, replaces a monohull patrol boat in use since 1988.

Propulsion on the new vessel comes from twin 350-hp Yamaha outboards capable of 42 knots on the lake, which has an elevation of 6,225 feet. Other components include a SeaStar Solutions steering system, a Furuno navigation suite and a rescue basket. 

Willard Marine of Anaheim, Calif., is building a multipurpose response boat for the Oceanside Police Department in Southern California that is capable of search and rescue, patrol and firefighting.

The 33-foot fiberglass harbor boat is based on a Crystaliner design that Willard bought in 2012; it will be the first such vessel ordered since the acquisition. Prior to the order, Oceanside police had three Crystaliner vessels in use.

The department’s newest vessel will be powered by two Yanmar 8LV-350 engines for speeds reaching 27 knots. It also will have a Darley PSDE 125 single-stage centrifugal fire pump capable of 1,250 gpm. 

J.P. Virden, delivered in November 2015, is the third vessel built by Gladding-Hearn for the Pilots’ Associa-tion for the Bay and River Delaware.

Courtesy Gladding-Hearn

Willard delivered a SOLAS 670 rescue boat to the U.S. Army at the end of 2015 to serve aboard McFarland, a Corps of Engineers dredge based in Philadelphia. The 22-foot RHIB is outfitted with a Volvo Penta D3 220-hp inboard engine paired with a HamiltonJet HJ2274 waterjet. Top speed exceeds 26 knots.

In December 2015, SAFE Boats International of Bremerton, Wash., delivered two 41-foot patrol boats to the Royal Bahamas Police Force, which already has several SAFE vessels in its fleet. The newest boats will be used for counter-narcotics operations and combating human trafficking around the Bahamas.

The center-console vessels have four 300-hp Mercury Verado engines and can exceed 50 knots during pursuits. Other components include shock-absorbing SHOXS seats, a Garmin navigational suite and a FLIR M-Series thermal-imaging camera. 

SAFE also delivered a 41-foot coastal interceptor to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations in late spring. The vessel, Alexandria, is the first of what could be a 52-boat order. It is the 2000th vessel SAFE has built and can reach speeds of 54 knots. It is intended for high-speed interceptions and other law enforcement.

Another company tapping the government patrol market last year was Metal Shark, which continued its rapid pace of deliveries for the U.S. Navy, Coast Guard and foreign militaries.

In the past year, the company has delivered more than 50 vessels to the Coast Guard, including numerous response boats based on its 29-foot Defiant model. The vessels are powered by 225-hp four-stroke Honda outboard motors.

The company also has built almost 100 vessels for the Navy, including force protection boats based on the company’s 32-foot Defiant model and high-speed maneuverable surface target boats (HSMSTs) based on its 26-foot Relentless model. These boats are powered by twin 300-hp Yamaha four-stroke outboards and Mercury 200 Optimax outboards, respectively.

Categories: American Ship Review, Maritime News