Fort Myers Fire Department gets new boat to help with marine emergencies

Reporter: Tiffany Rizzo
Published: Updated:
The Fort Myers Fire Department now has a new boat. (CREDIT: WINK News)

Boating and boat sales have increased greatly during the pandemic.

That also means there is more traffic on the water.

And if you plan on celebrating New Year’s along the Caloosahatchee River, the Fort Myers Fire Department now has a new tool, Marine 10, to keep boaters safe on the water.

Fort Myers fire Deputy Chief James Hayden said crews are definitely seeing an increase in calls on the holidays. 

“The call types that we typically run on our man overboard our missing person in the water. With a night scan were able to locate his signatures in the water, kayakers sometimes get lost and get stuck in mangroves,” Hayden said. “We’re able to approach the mangroves into the shallower areas and get to them quickly.”

The new boat will add a big advantage for the fire department, Hayden said. It is also a necessity to replace their old, outdated one.

“It didn’t have the workspace that we needed to safely work on people. If we had victims in the water, we didn’t really have anywhere we could treat them. If there was an active fire, we didn’t really have enough room to walk around move around the boat,” said Fort Myers Fire Capt. Joey Shogren.

The larger sturdier boat has updated technology like heat detection, night vision and expanded capabilities onboard.

“It’s got a wider beam. It’s longer and the upgraded electronics is integral into us being able to locate people on the water,” Hayden said.

Shogren said the boat holds a lot more equipment.

“The fire pump is bigger, easier to operate, and we’re able to flow more foam and extinguish the fire safer and better than we were before,” Shogren said. 

After building a new dock, the boat is also closer to the open water. It’s next to the police boat.

“We’re able to back straight out and turn right around and we’re heading out in the river just, just minutes, minutes from where we need to be. So it’s definitely gonna help us as far as the response times,” Shogren said. 

The fire department encourages everyone to follow safe practices on the water for the New Year’s Eve weekend while also reminding boaters not to shoot fireworks off the boat.

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