Metal Shark is building two 50'x16' welded-aluminum fireboats for Anne Arundel County Fire Department in Maryland.
Designed by Metal Shark’s in-house engineering team and now under construction at the company’s Franklin, La., shipyard, the new 50 Defiant NXT monohull pilothouse fireboats are being acquired to provide a significant boost to the department’s maritime firefighting capability. The new vessels offer faster speeds that enable shorter response times, greater pumping volume that increases firefighting effectiveness, and a next-generation design that is designed to improve efficiency while affording greater safety to firefighters.
The new fireboats feature a wide range of enhancements including a climate-controlled pilothouse delivering best-in-class visibility. Metal Shark’s signature “pillarless glass” with reverse-raked windshield significantly reduces blind spots compared to conventional pilothouse fireboats with smaller, framed windows, shipyard officials said in a statement announcing the contract.
A unique window arrangement, with a second tier of side windows below the beltline, provides improved downward-angle visibility, crucial while maneuvering alongside smaller vessels or during man-overboard retrieval. An overhead skylight array provides an unobstructed upward view when operating alongside ships or elevated structures, or during helicopter hoisting operations. The result is mission-enhancing visibility throughout the complete range of firefighting and rescue scenarios.
The new fireboats will feature twin inboard diesel waterjet propulsion for maximum performance and maneuverability. Projected top speed is in excess of 45 knots, for the fastest possible emergency-response time. At a economical 30-knot cruise speed, the vessels are expected to deliver a nominal operating range of approximately 250 nautical miles.
Designed for maximum firefighting capability and water pumping volume, the new vessels will deliver a flow rate in excess of 8,500 gals. per minute, with twin 3,000 gpm self-priming fire pumps driven via PTO from the main engines. Each pump draws from its own dedicated in-hull sea chest, feeding a central manifold with crossover capability, which in turn supplies the entire system.
From the fire control station at the port helm, flow is directed as desired via electronically-actuated 8" slow-close valves with manual backup. The vessels are each equipped with a remote-operated electric rooftop monitor, two aft-mounted monitors, two aft dual handline outlets, and two 5" Storz hydrant outlets. Dual 55-gal. reservoirs carry a total of 110 gallons of aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) per vessel.
Metal Shark attributes its significant growth in the fireboat sector to the popularity and success of its recently developed Defiant NXT fireboat line.
“Over the past four years, we have worked to develop our technologically advanced Defiant NXT lineup of vessels that are each designed as fireboats from the keel up; a departure from the standard industry practice of adding firefighting equipment and systems to existing multipurpose platforms,” said Dean Jones, Metal Shark’s vice president of sales for fire, law enforcement, and specialty markets. “This approach allows us to offer the capability and systems of a larger vessel in a smaller and more efficient platform that is easier to maintain. In many instances, these right-sized vessels have allowed agencies to step down to a smaller and more affordable vessel without giving up capability, which directly benefits the agency and the taxpayer.”
With the acquisition of these fireboats, the Anne Arundel County Fire Department joins a rapidly growing list of Metal Shark fire-rescue clients across the U.S. In a 24-month span, Metal Shark will have delivered new fireboats to the Chicago Fire Department; East Chilton Fire Rescue (Ala.); Everett Fire Department (Mass.); Marco Island Fire Rescue, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, and Tampa Fire Department (Fla.); Stafford County Fire (Va.); St. John County Fire (S.C.); and numerous others.
“Metal Shark is excited to build these next-generation, high-performance fireboats for Anne Arundel County Fire Department, as they will deliver the very latest advancements in fireboat design and technology,” said Metal Shark CEO Chris Allard. “With these new purpose-built vessels, crews will be able to respond faster, cover more distance, and do their jobs more efficiently and safely. This is a big win for the department and the communities it protects and serves.”