By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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“This will expand our rescue capacity and the ability to provide service on the water,” said East Jefferson Fire-Rescue spokesman Bill Beezley.
“It is a larger boat than what we've used before,” he said.
“It has a faster pump with a greater water capacity, and it has a climate-controlled area where we can transport patients.”
During a sea trial Thursday, the boat reached 46 knots — more than 50 mph. It can be seen in action at http://tinyurl.com/PDN-EJFR-boat.
The vessel — built by Lee Shore Boats of Port Angeles, which makes custom aluminum boats — at a cost of about $455,000 is an Argus 33, powered by twin Yamaha 250s and capable of pumping 1,250 gpm (gallons per minute) at 125 psi (pounds per square inch) or up to 3,000 gpm at 50 psi.
It has a unique diverter system, Beezley said.
The firefighting pump engine also can output thrust from the stern of the vessel, providing a speed of up to about 6 knots.
This allows operators to shut down the outboards and maneuver solely with the thrust from the pump engine when retrieving people from the water, eliminating the possibility of injury from the propellers, he said.
All the boat, now stored at the Port Townsend Fire Station at 35 Critter Lane, lacks now is a name.
Fire department commissioners will decide that Tuesday during a 7 p.m. meeting at the fire station.
An internal contest open to fire department staff had resulted in about 30 possible names, Beezley said.
After the name is painted on the hull and the boat is christened in a few weeks, it will be ready to go into service.
The new vessel will operate out of the Boat Haven while the current fire department boat, the Volunteer, will be taken to the Cape George marina, where it will answer calls for help in Discovery Bay.
“This is the first time that we've been able to provide service in that area, so it expands our abilities,” Beezley said.
The launch of the new boat includes a new training program in which about eight firefighters will be certified to serve as its captain.
This means at least one person who is able to captain the boat will be on every shift, Beezley said.
The boat will work alongside the newly purchased Jefferson County sheriff's boat, the Valor, which also was built by Lee Shore Boats.
The purchase cost was covered by a federal Department of Homeland Security Port Security Grant that the fire department received in 2011.
A condition of the grant is that the boat will be at the disposal of the Port of Seattle in case of an emergency, Beezley said.
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.