According to a city news release, the boat has a 1,000-gallon-per-minute pump for firefighting and sonar for search-and-recovery efforts. The boat is able to respond to events that produce radiation threats, making it the only boat between Houston and Galveston with such capabilities, the release said.
The city has been working for nearly two years to acquire the boat. Prior to acquiring the boat, the city had no capabilities to suppress fires on the water and had limited water rescue options, officials said.
The boat was obtained after the department applied for a grant through the Port Security Grant Program, which covered 75% of the boat’s cost. In total, the boat cost $436,790, and the city paid $109,197.
"This is a great deal for the city," Assistant Fire Marshal Jeff Allen said in the release. "This boat will expand upon the capabilities of our dive team and water rescue team as well."
The department has several firefighters who are boat captains and able to operate the boat, which is 30 feet long and able to carry a “fairly large crew.” The boat will be berthed at the South Shore Harbour Marina and will be active by the spring, when the boating season begins.