The Port of Long Beach, Calif., will build a pair of new fireboat stations for more than $100 million to base its 108’x35’ fireboats built by Foss Maritime Co., port officials said.

The port’s harbor commissioners on June 12 approved engineering design services for Fireboat Station No. 15, to be built on the Main Channel and completed by 2020. Fireboat Station No. 20 will be on the Inner Harbor, and completed in 2021.

Estimated costs for the projects are $50.1 million and $51.6 million, respectively, and the job could be put out to bid later this year.

“These fireboat stations will safeguard the Port and our customers in this new era of big ships,” Mario Cordero, the port’s executive director, in announcing the plan. “They will provide the best waterside response possible, maximize landside firefighting coverage and serve as a home for our new, state-of-the-art fireboats.”

A rendering of the fireboat station planned for the Port of Long Beach, Calif. Image courtesy POLB.

A rendering of the fireboat station planned for the Port of Long Beach, Calif. Image courtesy Port of Long Beach.

The Protector, the first of two fireboats from Foss Shipyard Seattle, arrived at Long Beach in June 2016. It mounts 10 water cannons with capacity to throw more than 41,000 gpm, four times the pumping output of the port’s 1980s-built fireboats, the 88’6”x21’x6’, 10,000-gpm Challenger and Liberty.

The Protector's sister ship Vigilance has been completed by Foss, and is in a 60-day commissioning phase by the port fire department before its formal acceptance, said Lee Peterson, a spokesman for the port.

That step up in firefighting power reflects the arrival of bigger ships and more cargo to the key southern California gateway to Pacific trade. When the earlier fireboats were built Long Beach handled containership of 4,500 TEU capacities; now 18,000 TEU ships call regularly and bigger vessels are expected.

“With ships more than doubling in size in the last decade and cargo traffic breaking monthly records, this is a needed upgrade to port safety,” Cordero said.

The multi-mission design by Robert Allan Ltd., Vancouver, British Columbia, can project water or foam 600’ and higher than a 20-story building. The Protector and Vigilance are also capable of protecting their crews while operating amid chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats.

The contract for both vessels is $51.6 million, including $18.5 million in grant funding from the Department of Homeland Security’s Port Security Grant Program.

Both fireboat stations will have living quarters, a garage for firefighting apparatus and a full wharf with enclosure for the fireboat. The design will include water-saving technology, energy-efficient appliances, natural ventilation and other features, and achieve the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Program’s (LEED) gold rating.

Contributing Editor Kirk Moore was a reporter for the Asbury Park Press for over 30 years before joining WorkBoat in 2015. He wrote several award-winning stories on marine, environmental, coastal and military issues that helped drive federal and state government policy changes. He has also been an editor for WorkBoat’s sister publication, National Fisherman, for over 25 years. Moore was awarded the Online News Association 2011 Knight Award for Public Service for the “Barnegat Bay Under Stress,” 2010 series that led to the New Jersey state government’s restoration plan. He lives in West Creek, N.J.