SAFE Boats completes 64' fast-responder for FDNY


The letters spelling out the vessel's name, Bravest, were cut from a piece of I-beam steel salvaged from the remains of the World Trade Center. The New York City Fire Department had the steel sent to SAFE Boats International in Port Orchard, Wash., where a CNC router carved it into individual characters that were powder-coated and installed on isolators over the aluminum cabin brow of the new 64' × 17' fast-responder fireboat built for FDNY.

The steel letters and the boat to which they are attached will finally arrive in New York City in early 2011. Like many similar projects, the design and construction of the Bravest took longer than the involved parties wanted or expected, but the end result appears to be worth the wait. The new 64-footer will help FDNY fill the gap between the recently delivered 140' fireboats from Eastern Shipbuilding Group and a fleet of smaller fast-responders from SAFE.

The Bravest can pump over 6,000 gpm using two 3,000-gpm Hale fire pumps to supply four monitors, four handline manifolds and one large shore connection. The main monitor, which is mounted on top of the cabin, was supplied by Fire Fighting Systems in Norway and has a 5,000-gpm capacity. The three 2,000-gpm capacity monitors were supplied by Elkhart Brass . SBI designed the boat, and Elliott Bay Design Group , Seattle, designed the firefighting system.

One of the fire pumps is powered by a 770-hp dedicated diesel engine from Iveco , and the other is powered by the middle of three propulsion engines, which are all Caterpillar C-18s, each rated at 1,000 hp at 2,300 rpm. The Cats are connected to three HamiltonJet HJ 403 waterjets. Maximum draft is 39", air draft is 14'6", and top speed during sea trials was 46 knots.

"The New York firefighters say it's going to change the way they do business. It's going to cut the response time from half to three-quarters depending on which boat they would have responded with," said Scott Peterson, president of SBI. "The low profile, shallow-water draft, shallow-height draft, the speed and having Purple K really changes the way you fight boat fires. One of the challenges of most boat fires is you pump water on it until you sink the boat and then, hey, the fire's out. This way, you can put out a fire without sinking the boat."

Purple K is a dry chemical fire suppression agent that is especially effective against flammable liquid fires. The new boat carries 100 lbs. of the chemical. The boat is also equipped with a 200-gal. foam tank.

The 64-footer also has plenty of electrical power. A Kohler 20-kw genset is housed in a deck box just forward of the stern swim platform. The electrical system includes 220-VAC shore power, 24-VAC for the engines and 12-VDC for the onboard first-aid equipment.

A stern tow post and push knees on the bow will allow the Bravest to move disabled vessels or those in its way during emergencies. The push knees also support a boarding ladder for getting on and off the beach or other boats, such as the Staten Island ferries.

Peterson said FDNY told him it has money in the budget for another fast-responder, but they want to operate the new one for a while before ordering the second boat.

The Bravest is the largest boat SBI has built to date, and it was a labor of love for the crew at the yard. "The guys are so proud of it, and I'm so proud of them," said Peterson. "It's new and it's exciting and it stretched us. It makes us better and stronger and smarter. I'm just extremely proud of our guys, they did a phenomenal job with the platform."





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