This is quite the boat. Although she has seen her younger days slip by, just like every other piece of expensive firefighting equipment, from firehouses, trucks, cars to, yes, fireboats, she looks absolutely brand new. (She's a real honey at 20 yards.) Soon to be joined by a spanking new boat by the same company that built her, right now she's at the ready and does see her share of fires. The boat is moored in front of the dock master's building at the Marjorie Park Yacht Basin on Davis Islands. The basin opens into Seddon Channel that leads up to the Hillsborough River or down to the Hillsborough Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
Built by MetalCraft Marine of Kingston, Ontario, Canada and Clayton, NY, the current boat will be joined in June by her planned replacement. (I won't let on in case she's jealous.)Along with greatly increased water pumping capacity, the new boat, the Firestorm 69, will be fast. Measuring 70 feet, the boat will reach 35 knots and be powered by 825-hp diesel engines. (This one has huge outboards.) Cost? Close to $2,000,000. (The replacement is long overdue and if it saves one life it's worth every penny.)
MetalCraft Marine builds a variety of specialized craft including high speed patrol boats, fire boats, rescue boats, and work boats. The new FireStorm 69 will be the fastest fireboat in the world and will pump 10,000 GPM (gallons per minute.) Its increased capabilities in our many different kinds of water, including the river, bays, channels and port, should make everyone - commercial ships, cruise ships and locals alike - feel much better protected. Tampa's new vessel will be delivered next month. I will keep my eye out for her arrival and compare the two vessels, realizing that aside from being able to find our fireboat at dock, I'm totally unqualified and uninitiated in fireboat technology. I'll simply leave it to my camera to do the detail work and comparison.
I don't know what will eventually happen with this sweet boat. In the condition she appears to be in, and knowing that Tampa Fire Rescue maintains her, I imagine she'll live a very long, long life - perhaps retired to do some sleepy fishing in Costa Rica or in the Florida keys. (Only kidding.)