Fire departments in Delaware and Minnesota have recently accepted delivery of Response FR-32J and FR-31J boats built of welded aluminum by Viking Welding & Fabrication in Kensington, New Hampshire. The boats were designed by Response Marine in Newburyport, Massacusetts.
The FR-32J specifications were developed by the Bowers (DE) Fire Company to improve firefighting and rescue capability on the Delaware River in the area of Bowers Beach and surrounding waters. The 32- x 10-boat boat provides more 3,000 gallons per minute (gpm) through a combination of the 2,000-gpm roof monitor, 1,500-gpm foredeck monitor, and two aft four-inch outlets. Monitors and valves are electrically controlled from the safety of the interior fire control station. Primary propulsion is twin 300-hp Mercury Verado outboards with a center jet driven by a Kodiak 6.0-liter, 375-hp engine providing sprint speeds of 48 miles per hour (mph) with the jet and 42 mph without the jet. The jet discharge flows through a custom,six-inch hydraulically operated diverter valve to provide propulsion and/or firefighting. Navigation, rescue, and recovery include thermal imaging, AIS, digital high-definition color radar, and man overboard monitoring–all of which are Raymarine components.
The pilothouse arrangement includes three shock-absorbing seats; a full length patient bench; fire control station; and a commander desk for navigation, communication, and coordination. In addition to the oversized sliding door aft, the house features two side sliding doors for quick access to the forward deck areas. For the FR-32J hull the fire department requested a 19-degree aft bottom deadrise and shifted the pilothouse aft to counter the famous choppy waters of Delaware Bay.
The Response FR-31J design and outfitting were developed in partnership with the St. Paul (MN) Fire Department to suit the department’s protection mission on the Mississippi River. Machinery outfitting is nearly identical to the FR-32J though there are differences in the electronics and firefighting equipment. Primary differences are the elimination of the roof monitor, the addition of onboard foam tankage, and the addition of a forward cockpit. Instead of the traditional forward cuddy cabin which provides stowage volume and shelter, the St. Paul (MN) Fire Department elected to have a forward cockpit. On the protected waters of the upper Mississippi this forward work area will be a valuable attribute for facilitating rescue and firefighting operations from the forward section of the boat.
For more information, visit www.responsemarine.com.