ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ - There’s a new engine in the firehouse, but it doesn’t have wheels.
Jake Hoffman, AH Harbor Commissioner and AH volunteer fire department member, said in remarks Thursday that the AHFD was completing refurbishment of a 26’ Coast Guard cutter to be used as a fireboat and rescue boat in the AH Harbor and surrounding region. Finishing is taking place in the AH Fire Department garage. Completion and initial launch are expected within the month.
“The Coast Guard donated two derelict boats and a trailer to us last year. We’ve taken parts from both to make one functioning boat. Compared with our 18’ Boston Whaler, for functionality for marina and bay rescue, this boat is more appropriate for the chop in the bay and will be invaluable to us in getting to the moored boats, and for rescue. This boat can be used for both water and land-based fires.”
Atlantic Highlands fireboat, Marine 85.
The boats were donated, and volunteer firemen performed the refurbishment work. The fire department will maintain the boat, which will operate out of Atlantic Highlands Harbor. All costs are absorbed by the fire department, using proceeds from the annual Fireman’s Fair and donations from local businesses.
The fireboat’s water gun is mounted on the top of the cabin. The water gun’s range is over two hundred feet.. Its single Mercury engine can reach up to 35 miles per hour when going to a crisis scene. The cabin is almost completely enclosed, giving the crew better working conditions, since bay weather can be harsh. “The guys were almost completely exposed in the Boston Whaler,” explained Hoffman. “In winter it was rough. This is much better as it protects the crew. Also, it has sufficient space in the rear for a gurney during rescue mission. The Boston Whaler just does not have the space to accommodate a person on a gurney.”
The newly refurbished boat’s designation will be “Marine 85”. The Boston Whaler will be sold, Hoffman indicated. Hoffman added, “To us, this refurbished cutter is worth a lot in terms of what it can allow us to do.”
Hoffman indicated that the boat added to the professional quality and experience of the AH all-volunteer firemen. “Our guys work here as volunteers, but they are as well-trained as any professional. In fact some have turned professional and work for fire departments such as Newark. Incorporating equipment like this boat into our daily operations provides valuable on-the-job training and experience for our guys, and that experience makes our personnel that much more valuable.”
The fireboat will be in its slip and operational before the upcoming Fireman’s Fair.