The San Bernardino County Fire Department in California has placed in service two fire and rescue boats from Lake Assault Boats. The landing craft style vessels — one 28 feet long and the other 26 feet long — will be used to fight fires, to support ground-based operations, and for rescue operations.
The 28-foot craft is stationed in Needles, Calif., and serves on the Colorado River.
“This boat serves multiple purposes along a vitally important stretch of the river; we can directly fight fire or support ground-based operations, and it has comprehensive dive and rescue capabilities,” explained Brian Wells, engineer with the San Bernardino County Fire Department. “It also is designed to serve as a wildland team personnel carrier and ATV transport, addressing just about any emergency scenario that we encounter along the river.”
The 26-foot boat provides protection to resources along Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear lake.
“This mountainous region has a history of wildfires, and one of our unique challenges is protecting the many large houses that are close to shore but inaccessible by road,” Wells said. “We can station this boat at the backside of the house and use our deck monitor, or draft from the lake and take hose lines up to the fire scene. We can also lay hose lines to support land-based fire apparatus.”
The fireboats are each outfitted with twin 300-hp Mercury Verado outboard engines and include the Skyhook Digital Anchor and Joystick Piloting systems. Both feature a 1500 gallon-per-minute Darley pump (powered by a dedicated V-8 engine) along with a TFT monitor and three discharge ports. The boats include a 63-inch hydraulically operated bow door (with an integrated ladder), dual dive doors, a davit crane with twin socket locations, and a full width T-top pilothouse. The onboard electronics include dual 12-inch touchscreens mounted on the dash, Garmin radar and sonar with SideVu and DownVu, chart plotting, and a forward looking infrared (FLIR) system.
Lake Assault provided three days of on-the-water orientation ahead of the boats being put into service.