Fireboat construction remained steady during the past year as U.S. municipal departments took delivery of multiple notable vessels, including the 108-foot Vigilance built for the Port of Long Beach, Calif. Pilot associations on all three coasts welcomed new launches from several shipyards, and builders also turned out nimble, versatile patrol boats for myriad law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

Two years ago this November, the Port of Long Beach welcomed Protector, one of the world’s most powerful fireboats, into the fold. A year later, in November 2017, the sister vessel Vigilance arrived at the busy West Coast port from Foss Maritime of Seattle.

Propulsion aboard the 108-by-35-foot vessel comes from twin 2,000-hp Caterpillar 3512C engines coupled with twin Voith Schneider 26GII/165 AE45 cycloidal propellers. Two Caterpillar C6.6 gensets provide electrical power.

Vigilance, like Protector, can blast 41,000 gallons of water per minute thanks to seven fire pumps with capacity ranging from 2,000 to 8,000 gpm. Two Caterpillar 3512C engines and a Cat C12 engine drive the fire pumps. Other gear includes a Rapp Marine HP50-15T2 hydraulic crane and 16-foot Lee Shore Boats fast rescue boat.

Robert Allan Ltd. of Vancouver, British Columbia, designed the fireboats, which also are equipped with Furuno navigation electronics, a FLIR infrared camera and a KVH satcom system.

Marine 24 combines speed and firefighting power in a compact package. The 32-footer from Lake Assault Boats plies the waters of Lake Tahoe under the direction of the Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District.

Courtesy Lake Assault Boats

Vigilance and Protector replace the fireboats Challenger and Liberty, which arrived in the late 1980s when 4,500-TEU ships were the norm in the Port of Long Beach. The port now regularly has calls from 14,000-TEU containerships, and the largest vessel to stop there can hold 18,000 TEU. Larger ships are expected in the future, and Vigilance and Protector will be ready to answer the call during emergencies.

A few hundred miles to the north, the Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District in Lake Tahoe, Nev., recently took delivery of Marine 24, a custom 32-foot fireboat built by Lake Assault Boats of Superior, Wis.

Propulsion comes from twin 350-hp Mercury Verado four-stroke outboards. The engines are paired with a Mercury Skyhook digital anchor system and joystick controls within an integrated helm station. Garmin supplied navigation electronics, and Marine 24 also has side-scan sonar and a thermal imaging camera.

Firefighting is handled by a 1,500-gpm Darley fire pump powered by a dedicated V-8 engine, with a rooftop-mounted TFT Monsoon monitor and two deck monitors. The vessel also has a hose discharge unit to supply water to land-based fire equipment.

Another notable Lake Assault fireboat is the 28-foot vessel delivered to the Pedernales Fire Department in Travis County, Texas, where it operates on Lake Travis. It features a modified V-hull, enclosed pilothouse and Garmin electronics. A 1,500-gpm fire pump serves a forward-facing monitor.

California-based Moose Boats delivered William H. Connerton Jr. to the Newport (R.I.) Fire Department early this year. The catamaran features a 3,000-gpm pumping capacity and HamiltonJet waterjets.

Courtesy Moose Boats

MetalCraft Marine of Kingston, Ontario, recently delivered Fireboat 49 to the Fort Lauderdale Fire Department in Florida. The FireStorm 36 aluminum-hull vessel replaces a former fishing boat that the department had equipped with a fire pump. The 39-foot newbuild can dispense up to 4,000 gpm of water and has chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) sensing capabilities.

Moose Boats of Vallejo, Calif., delivered an M2-38 catamaran fireboat to the Newport Fire Department in Rhode Island in spring 2018. The 38-foot aluminum craft has propulsion from twin 425-hp Cummins QSB 6.7 engines and HamiltonJet waterjets.

The vessel, named William H. Connerton Jr. after a longtime local firefighter, has two independent Hale fire pumps. They are driven by the main engines and are capable of delivering more than 3,000 gpm. Fire monitors are mounted forward and aft of the enclosed pilothouse.

The house is equipped with the latest electronics, a thermal imaging camera and radiation detection equipment. It also has space for two full-length back boards on opposing benches for patient transfers.

Moose Boats also has orders for M2-38 catamarans for the San Francisco Fire Department and for the city of Memphis, Tenn., which plans to use the vessel for police and fire/rescue work on the Mississippi River and in the Port of Memphis.

Gladding-Hearn added to its history of pilot boat deliveries last year with the 53-foot Dixey. The aluminum launch for Alabama Pilot Inc. boasts C. Raymond Hunt’s signature deep-V hull.

Courtesy Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding

Gladding-Hearn Shipbuilding of Somerset, Mass., had several notable pilot boat deliveries in the past year including Hampton Roads (profiled here). Others include Assistant for Delta Launch Services/Associated Branch Pilots of Louisiana, and Dixey for Alabama Pilot Inc. of Mobile.

Assistant is a 52-foot aluminum St. John’s-class launch featuring the yard’s signature C. Raymond Hunt deep-V hull. Propulsion comes from two 671-hp Caterpillar C18 Tier 4 engines turning five-blade Bruntons nibral props through Twin Disc Quickshift reduction gears. Electrical power comes from a 12-kW Northern Lights genset.

The vessel, stationed at Southwest Pass at the mouth of the Mississippi River, also has a wheelhouse positioned aft of amidships, six Llebroc pilot chairs, a 40,000-BTU HVAC system and a forecastle outfitted with head, settee and three berths. Assistant is Coast Guard certified to carry up to 12 passengers for hire.

Dixey is a 53-foot launch with a deep-V aluminum hull that is also powered by twin 671-hp Cat C18 engines. It has a Humphree Interceptor trim-tab stabilizing system installed on the transom and a top speed of 27 knots. The Cat mains turn five-blade nibral props through Twin Disc MGX-5135A gears. Auxiliary power comes from a 9-kW Northern Lights genset.

Dixey, a Chesapeake-class vessel, has six Llebroc seats. Climate control comes from twin 16,000-BTU air-conditioning units. Safety gear storage and a settee are located within the forecastle.

The 63-foot Orion displays its speed and handling during trials near Tacoma, Wash. The pilot boat was built by Nordlund Boat Co. for Jacobsen Pilot Services of Long Beach, Calif.

Neil Rabinowitz photo

Metal Shark of Louisiana delivered a pilot boat last spring for the Virgin Islands Port Authority in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. The 45-foot Defiant-class aluminum monohull, George Freeman, was designed for maximum visibility, and the deck has LED lighting for nighttime operations.

Propulsion comes from two Cummins QSM11 mains paired with HamiltonJet HJ322 waterjets. Its cruising speed exceeds 30 knots, and its top speed is above 40. The house has five shock-mitigating seats and anti-fatigue floors, with a galley, head and V-berth below. A urethane-covered foam Wing collar protects the hull.

Jacobsen Pilot Services of Long Beach, Calif., recently took delivery of the 63-foot Orion built by Nordlund Boat Co. of Tacoma, Wash. The launch is based on a similar series operated by the Puget Sound Pilots. Tim Nolan Marine Design provided the plans.

Propulsion comes from two 800-hp Cat C18 engines coupled with HamiltonJet waterjets for a service speed of 25 knots. Auxiliary power comes from a Northern Lights 12-kW genset. The vessel draws just 3 feet.

Orion features a composite hull with carbon-fiber house and mast. “The Airex sandwich composite hull was infused in a mold with Hydrex Vinylester blend resin using knitted E-glass fabrics to meet American Bureau of Shipping requirements for high-speed vessels,” Nordlund said in a release announcing the new vessel.

The interior has STIDD contoured chairs for the operator and mate, and eight Eknes high-back reclining chairs for the pilots. The wide decks feature handrails with Harken’s Access rail track system.

Metal Shark’s output includes pilot boats, and last year the Louisiana shipbuilder added to its resume with the 45-foot George Freeman. The aluminum newbuild for the Virgin Islands Port Authority has a top speed in excess of 40 knots.

Courtesy Metal Shark

Metal Shark sent five 29-foot response boat-small II units to the U.S. Coast Guard in Alaska starting in May. The deliveries stemmed from a 2011 contract between the yard and the Coast Guard to upgrade its 25-foot small response boat.

The Metal Shark Defiant 29-class vessels have twin 225-hp Honda outboards capable of 40 knots, shock-mitigating seats, modern electronics, and gun mounts placed forward and aft.

The first two vessels arrived at Station Ketchikan in May, followed a month later by a single delivery to Station Valdez and two to Station Juneau. The vessels are designed for search and rescue, port safety and security, and environmental response.

Metal Shark also delivered a 35-foot Defiant-class aluminum patrol boat to the Puerto Rico Police Department based in San Juan. The vessel follows delivery of Metal Shark 36-foot Fearless-class patrol boats already in service for the department.

The newest patrol boat features three Mercury Verado 300-hp outboard engines for speeds exceeding 45 knots, and Shockwave shock-mitigating seats. A urethane-sheathed foam collar protects the hull during boardings, docking and other operations.

Moose Boats recently bolstered the New York Police Department’s fleet with a 46-foot M1 patrol boat, shown here on duty near the Freedom Tower in Lower Manhattan.

Courtesy Moose Boats

Elsewhere in the Caribbean, Metal Shark delivered four 38 Defiant aluminum monohulls to the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard. The vessels are the first arrivals from a 12-boat order and will serve as the agency’s “main interceptors” in territorial waters around the islands of Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten and Saba, according to Metal Shark.

Propulsion comes from twin Cummins QSB 6.7 engines paired with Konrad 680B counter-rotating, dual-prop stern drives. Top speed can exceed 45 knots. Other features include composite armor hull panels, Shockwave seating for six and anti-fatigue flooring. Below, the vessel has a head, galley and V-berth for extended patrols.

A 32-foot aluminum port security vessel that Metal Shark delivered to the Virgin Islands Port Authority has seating for four and propulsion from two 300-hp Evinrude E-TEC G2 outboards. The boat’s cruising speed is 35 knots and its top speed approaches 50 knots.

Metal Shark also delivered six more 45-foot Defiant-class patrol boats to Vietnam’s coast guard, which received six sister vessels last year. The boats are powered by twin Caterpillar C9 engines paired with HamiltonJet waterjets.

On the domestic side, Lake Assault Boats delivered an aluminum-hull patrol boat to the resident state trooper in the town of Essex, Conn. The 26-foot craft, which arrived in summer 2018, has a V-hull design with a dive platform at the transom.

A quartet of new Metal Shark monohulls now patrol island waters under the jurisdiction of the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard. The Defiant 38s will be followed by eight more for the agency from the Louisiana builder.

Courtesy Metal Shark

Propulsion comes from two Suzuki 150-hp outboard motors with a digital throttle and shift system. The boat has a fully enclosed 8-foot-long pilothouse with sonar, radar and a thermal imaging camera.

Lake Assault also delivered a 31-foot aluminum patrol boat to the Rockland County Sheriff’s Office, located on the Hudson River north of New York City. Since its arrival in late summer 2018, the vessel has patrolled a 30-mile stretch of river that includes the Indian Point nuclear plant, the new Tappan Zee Bridge and numerous private marinas.

Propulsion comes from twin 300-hp Mercury Verado engines with digital throttle, shifting and power steering. The enclosed pilothouse is climate-controlled by a 15,000-BTU rooftop air-conditioning unit, and the operator has access to radar, side-scan sonar, a thermal imaging camera and a 14-inch touch-screen display.

Moose Boats delivered a 46-foot M1 patrol boat to the New York Police Department that is built for counterterrorism operations. Propulsion comes from twin 600-hp Cummins QSC engines paired with HamiltonJet HJ322 waterjets. The vessel also is equipped with a HamiltonJet electronic steering system, a HamiltonJet anchor positioning system and an electric deck heater.

By Professional Mariner Staff