Early May on the Chesapeake is when the weather starts to warm, the wind is blowing, and the boating season is getting underway. This spring, Annapolis, Md.’s largest cruise-tour operator, Watermark, hosted several groups of local firefighters on their vessels — not for a day on the bay, but for a tour of its passenger boats.

It was a very good idea that brought together over 100 firefighters who familiarized themselves with three of the company’s large passenger vessels and held training exercises. The training focused on oil line suppression, understanding the boats’ fuel systems, and accessing the hidden spaces on the boats so the fire departments can put plans in place in case of an emergency. For many of the first responders, the vessel tour provided them with their first look at a large engine room.

Annapolis Fire Department Chief David Stokes said the training was valuable. “It will assist in our continued response to emergencies around Annapolis and in the tributaries of the Chesapeake Bay,” he said.

Watermark operates tour boats and small cruise ships in Annapolis and Baltimore that take trips across the bay. The company also has a water taxi service and yacht charter service. Watermark carries tens of thousands of passengers each year. By inviting first responders in for a tour of their vessels, Watermark has helped make the waterways a bit safer for their guests.

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