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Md. fire department receives first of three new fireboats

The new fireboats for Anne Arundel County will help with dive rescue

By Luke Parker
Capital Gazette

ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY, Md. — The Anne Arundel County Fire Department has launched a new boat for dive rescues, the first of three additions planned this year to its maritime fleet.

The vessel, Boat 8, will “bolster our capability to respond to and mitigate emergencies on the waterways” across the county, the department said in a news release Friday.

Department spokesperson Capt. Jenny Macallair called it a “water rescue asset.”

The vessel is a 26-foot Munson center-console aluminum hull boat designed specifically for the department’s dive team. Its shallow draft will allow rescuers to navigate smaller waterways and a sonar system will help fire officials locate victims under the water.

With a top speed of 43 mph, Boat 8 will be stationed off Thomas Point Road in Annapolis near the mouth of the South River, giving the department access to the Chesapeake Bay and other nearby waterways. When it is deployed, two special operations-trained rescue divers will respond with it, according to the release.

Acquiring Boat 8 was approved in the department’s fiscal 2023 budget; the vessel was purchased in the current fiscal year, Macallair said. Replacing an out-of-service raft boat donated to the county, it cost approximately $250,000.

Later this year, the fire department will launch two 50-foot Metal Shark Defiant NXT Fireboats. Macallair said they will replace an outdated fireboat still in service and another that sank near Gibson Island in 2022.

Like the currently active fireboat “ Lady Anne,” which was built in 2003 and is stationed at Sandy Point, the Metal Sharks will be able to draw water from whatever waterway they are on to assist in putting out a fire.

Boat 8, designed for dive rescues, does not have that function, Macallair said.

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