New fireboats for Maryland fire agency

The first new fireboat for the Anne Arundel County Fire Department is scheduled for delivery late this summer.
The first new fireboat for the Anne Arundel County Fire Department is scheduled for delivery late this summer.
The first new fireboat for the Anne Arundel County Fire Department is scheduled for delivery late this summer.

Shark is building two welded-aluminum fireboats for the Anne Arundel County Fire Department in Maryland.

The new 50 Defiant NXT monohull pilothouse fireboats were designed by the boat builder’s in-house engineering team and are now under construction at its Franklin, La. shipyard. 

The new builds were ordered to replace the department’s 20-year-old main fireboat, Lady Anne, which was built by MetalCraft Marine. 

When delivered, the new vessels “will offer faster speeds enabling shorter response times, greater pumping volume – increasing firefighting effectiveness – and a next-generation, design-improving efficiency while affording greater safety to firefighters,” Metal Shark said.

Among standout features is a climate-controlled pilothouse delivering “mission-enhancing visibility” via the builder’s signature “pillar-less glass” with a reverse-raked windshield that “significantly reduces blind spots compared to conventional pilothouse fireboats with smaller, framed windows.” 

A second tier of side windows below the beltline provides improved downward-angle visibility, crucial while maneuvering alongside smaller vessels or during man-overboard retrieval. An overhead skylight array provides an unobstructed upward view when operating alongside ships, elevated structures, or during helicopter hoisting operations.

The new 50- by 16-foot fireboats will feature twin inboard diesel waterjet propulsion that can drive them at a projected top speed in excess of 45 knots. With a 30-knot cruise speed, the boats are expected to deliver a nominal operating range of approximately 250 nautical miles.

In terms of firefighting capability and water pumping volume, the pair will deliver a flow rate in excess of 8,500 gallons per minute, with twin 3,000 GPM self-priming fire pumps driven via power take-off from the main engines. Each pump draws from its own dedicated in-hull sea chest, feeding a central manifold with crossover capability, which in turn supplies the entire system.

From the fire control station at the port helm, flow is directed as desired via electronically actuated 8-inch slow-close valves with manual backup. The vessels are each equipped with a remote-operated electric rooftop monitor, two aft-mounted monitors, two aft dual handline outlets, and two 5-inch Storz hydrant outlets. Dual 55-gallon reservoirs carry a total of 110 gallons of aqueous film-forming foam per vessel.

Metal Shark said it has seen “significant growth in the fireboat sector, which it attributes to the popularity and success of its recently developed Defiant NXT fireboat line.”

Over the past four years, the company “has worked to develop our technologically advanced Defiant NXT lineup of vessels that are each designed as fireboats from the keel up, a departure from the standard industry practice of adding firefighting equipment and systems to existing multipurpose platforms,” said Dean Jones, Metal Shark’s vice president of sales for fire, law enforcement, and specialty markets. 

“This approach allows us to offer the capability and systems of a larger vessel in a smaller and more efficient platform that is easier to maintain,” he added. “In many instances, these right-sized vessels have allowed agencies to step down to a smaller and more affordable vessel without giving up capability, which directly benefits the agency and the taxpayer.”