Narragansett’s new fireboat built to handle every hazard


The swimmer, Lt. Ben Lonngren, reached into a crevice in the rocks and with repeated strenuous efforts dislodged Rescue Andy. He then muscled the mannequin into a Stokes basket and began the arduous swim across the 150-foot gap of choppy water to the bow ramp on the Narragansett fireboat Maia Stanton.

Since taking delivery of the vessel in December, the Narragansett Fire Department has conducted rescue exercises, like the above scenario, and integrated the department’s marine division into the greater Narragansett Bay Marine Task Force. Lt. Patrick Walsh, head of marine operations, also has been training the marine crew to qualify as coxswains.

In 2012, the department began the process of acquiring a fire/rescue boat and developing an all-hazards rescue team. Built by North River Boats of Roseburg, Ore., Maia Stanton was named in honor of a 14-year-old girl who drowned off the rocky Narragansett Bay shoreline while snorkeling in July 2015. Walsh said the fire department responds to an average of one drowning annually.

“We felt we had to do something to better serve the community,” he said. “The focus here is not desert or mountains. It’s water. We felt it was our duty to have a modern marine fire and rescue department to serve the seaside community.”

The crew is trained in fire and rescue, and to detect and contend with CBRNE (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive) threats.

Lt. Patrick Walsh straps Maia Stanton’s Stokes basket to the bench seat inside the cabin.

“Fire departments these days are misclassified by the public because of the term ‘fire’ in the designation,” Walsh said. An all-hazards designation would be more appropriate, according to the lieutenant, because whenever there is confusion as to which department should respond to an emergency, the fire department gets the nod.

The design of the boat focused on the need to maneuver a Stokes basket aboard and then get it inside the cabin. To that end, Walsh collaborated with North River to design and build a bow ramp for that purpose. They then allotted for enough width between the cabin and the gunwales to allow the crew to slide the basket around the cabin, through the aft door and onto the bench seat fitted with stabilizing straps.

The 31-foot, deep-V aluminum-hulled Maia Stanton is fast. At full throttle, its hull lifts out of the water and its two Yamaha 250-hp outboards propel the craft to 40 knots. In the engine compartment forward of the outboards, a Darley HE 500 fire pump is coupled to a 130-hp Kodiak Vortec engine. A Task Force Tips Tornado monitor is mounted on the bow, and a Task Force Tips valve under monitor (VUM) system is at the stern. Both are manually operated.

During the rescue of Andy, helmsman Lt. Scott McLaughlin was kept busy feathering the throttles back and forth to keep the boat in line with the swimmer and the basket. Walsh was at the bow hauling in the tether line while Lonngren swam the Stokes basket to the lowered bow ramp. With Walsh pulling and Lonngren pushing, they got Andy aboard.

When asked how strenuous it was, on a scale of one to 10, to get the 200-pound rescue mannequin off the rocks, into the basket and back to the boat, Lonngren said, “I’d give it an eight.”


Lt. Scott McLaughlin mans the helm as Walsh monitors the Raymarine electronics suite aboard the fireboat.


A Kodiak Vortec engine adjacent to the boat’s twin Yamaha outboards drives a 500-gpm Darley fire pump.


A Task Force Tips Tornado monitor provides firefighting power from the bow.


The fireboat displays its power and maneuverability during a training exercise on Narragansett Bay. The newbuild has a top speed of 40 knots.

Maia Stanton specifications

Owner/operator: Narragansett Fire Department, Narragansett, R.I.
Designer/builder: North River Boats, Roseburg, Ore.
Dimensions: L: 31’ B: 10’ D: 23”

• (2) Yamaha F250XCA outboard engines, 250 hp each
• Side-Power SE80/185T bow thruster
• Imtra Zipwake dynamic trim control system
• Maximum speed: 40 knots

• Raymarine Axiom electronics suite: 12-inch screen display, radar, GPS, transducer, VHF radio, heading sensor
• Whelen emergency lights and siren

• (2) Task Force Tips monitors
• Darley HE 500 fire pump, 500 gpm
• Kodiak Vortec 130-hp fire pump engine

• FLIR M232 thermal imaging camera
• Golight Stryker searchlights
• Mini Rad-V radiation detector
• Duramax fendering


By Professional Mariner Staff