Marine Log

Edmonds, Wash. fire and resue boat

November 3, 2006

Northwind delivers fire and rescue boat

To meet the requirements of the Edmonds, Wash., Fire and Police Departments, Seattle's Northwind Marine, Inc. modified its existing Argus Class aluminum public safety fire and rescue boat design to incorporate Edmonds requests.

Edmonds is located on Puget Sound, which is dotted with widely spaced communities with stretches of inaccessible shoreline. Edmonds needed a multi-purpose boat able to fight fires, rescue divers and mariners, and deliver large volumes of water to isolated shores--and capable of rapidly deploy emergency medical and law enforcement personnel and equipment.

Most of the shoreline in Edmonds' response area is either breakwater or riprap. Edmonds' previous rescue boats were not engineered to take the punishment of beaching on large shoreline boulders. Victims far away from a suitable beaching area were difficult to rescue and valuable time was lost transporting the patient back to the rescue boat.

The Edmonds boat has a 36 inch wide bow door plus a wide front cabin door to place backboard transported patients on the casualty bench and a dive door with an integrated dive ladder. It will be able to pull to shore in 2-1/2 feet of water and deploy steps to beaches. It also

Propulsion is by a pair of Honda outboards, but secondary propulsion and water delivery is provided by Northwind Marine's proprietary diverter system.

An inboard gasoline engine powers a pump to supply monitors as well as hydrants that can deliver up to 4000 gal/min either ashore or to tankers. With a controllable manifold, water power can be directed to a waterjet to augment propulsion.

Northwind Marine has built 44 fireboats ranging in size from 19 to 50-feet, perhaps more than any other boat builder in North America, Bruce Reagan, president of the 30-year-old company, claims.

Fire fighters and police officers began training to use the boat in September, reported Edmonds Fire Chief Thomas J. Tomberg. According to Reagan, the chief and other personnel worked with him and Northwinds Director of Special Projects, Don Donart. in defining and meeting the needs of the Edmonds Fire and Police Departments. As a result, Reagan said, the boat was "one of the nicest we've built," incorporating the latest in concepts and equipment.

Donart is a retired fire chief who operated fireboats on Coeur d' Alene Lake before joining Northwind.

Two counter rotating Honda 225-hp outboards are equipped with extra long shafts and stainless steel props.

The 320-hp propulsion/pumping engine is controlled from the pilot station. The water jet propulsion pump unit is modified with a specially designed aluminum diverter assembly leading into the fire fighting manifold. Discharge water volume at the monitor is in excess of 1000 gpm at 115 psi and 3000 gpm at 55 psi. The bow mounts a 3-inch valved outlet fitted with a 3-inch monitor suitable for a 2-1/2 inch adjustable fog and solid stream nozzle. Discharge ports include a 4-inch Storz in the bow area, a 4-inch gated swivel Storz in the stern with two 2 -inch gated NST outlets and one 1 -inch NST gated discharge with a hose rack on the portside in the cockpit area across from the dive door.

The 12-volt electrical system involves four Group 31 heavy-duty marine series batteries, isolation boxes and a DC circuit breaker electrical distribution panel. A Rule 2000-gph bilge pump is installed in the engine space.

The pilot cabin is fitted with a Todd pedestal seat. The navigator's station involves a removable Todd chair on the casualty bench. Miscellaneous equipment includes bow beaching plates, 10" cleats, a stainless steel bow eye, self-bailing decks, and a starboard mounted 500-pound capacity manual davit.

Northwind calls this type of boat the "Argus Class." The class was designed to meet Lloyds' specifications for Special Service Craft and boats "are heavily constructed &to withstand commercial conditions and are engineered and built to be used in emergency operations and daily patrol use including boarding of other vessels and normal beaching."

The hull structure and component parts are fabricated using CAD/CAM engineering and cut by a numerically controlled plasma machine. The hull is designed to keep the vessel buoyant if the boat is swamped or overturned, with watertight voids filled with U. S. C. G. certified flotation foam.