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Matlacha/Pine Island Fire Control District receives new fire boat

November 7, 2019
By ED FRANKS (efranks@breezenewspapers.com) , Pine Island Eagle

The Matlacha/Pine Island Fire Control District took delivery of a new fire-fighting boat last week. The new craft is a 26-foot Silver Ships Freedom 26 Center Console.

According to the manufacturer, "The Freedom 26 is designed with first responder and law enforcement missions requiring the ability to operate with minimal crew in a variety of conditions; from shallow protected waters up to significant seas."

The boat is equipped with a single Suzuki 300 horsepower motor, enclosed T-top with windshield and side windows for enhanced protection from the elements, Full emergency lighting and siren system.

Article Photos

The M/PIFCD’s new Silver Ships Freedom 26 Center Console watercraft.

PHOTO PROVIDED

"We still have a 24-foot Carolina Skiff that has served us well and we will continue to use," M/PIFCD engineer Cliff Simer said. "Each boat serves a separate purpose and two boats give us more flexibility. The skiff allows us to perform rescue type services and the new boat is an actual fire boat."

The boat is also equipped with a Garmin navigation electronics package that includes multiple 12-inch multifunction displays with chartplotting and sidescan sonar, radar and an integrated FLIR (forward looking infrared) thermal camera for search and rescue operations.

"The new boat can handle weather conditions that the skiff can't handle," Chief Ben Mickuleit said. "It is also equipped with a Darley HE64 Hercules fire pump capable of up to 575 gallons per minute flow. This will be a great asset especially considering the number of calls we've been having lately -- on average a boat call every week."

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