Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services took delivery of the first of two new VF&RS Fireboats in September during a ceremony at the North Docks on Granville Island.
The theme of the day was definitely collaboration. Specifically, the City of Vancouver Fire Department, along with City Council members of municipalities in the Lower Mainland, and the Emergency Response Community who will be immediate beneficiaries of the new boat.
The new fireboat was joined by two of the older firefighting vessels in the City fleet, both Units 1&2 of RCM SAR (North and West Vancouver), two vessels from the RCMP, one vessel from Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, and a vessel from Western Canada Marine Response Corporation.
Guests were treated to the Vancouver Fire Service Band before officials spoke about the importance of the vessel to emergency preparedness for the waters around Vancouver. Adriane Carr (Vancouver City Councillor) spoke of the need for a state-of-the-art firefighting capability on the waterfront as well as noting that the project was the result of collaboration between City and Fire officials, the boat builder and suppliers of equipment. She also stressed collaboration between municipalities that would benefit from the addition of the fire boats to the fleet of equipment used by emergency services.
Other speakers followed suit with similar commentary. Tom Latham, President of Hamilton Jet Americas, recognized the firefighters of Vancouver Fire Department — their dedication to duty and collaboration with their colleagues in other emergency services, including the RCM SAR Search and Rescue volunteer organization who had donated their time to be with the assembled company.
New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, part of the New Zealand Consulate in Vancouver, along with Jastram Tech-nologies, co-sponsored the event with well over 100 stakeholders and members of the public in attendance.
There will be a naming ceremony when a name is chosen for the vessel, and since this is the first of two such vessels for the City, the naming ceremony will take place once both vessels are available for christening.
Following speeches, the new vessel proceeded to the mid-channel of False Creek and put on an impressive display with its Fire Monitors, while conducting manoeuvres.
The Hamilton HJ364 Waterjets that drive this vessel provide enough thrust to propel the boat at an impressive 37-knot maximum speed, with the ability to hold station while pumping water at a fire, and the vessel can swiftly manoeuvre in any direction with accuracy and perfect control.
The Vancouver Fire Department is obviously pleased with the new addition to their equipment fleet. Captain Jonathan Gormick indicated that the Department is providing an ongoing and intensive training program for operators of the new vessel. Feedback from crew was that they were impressed with the ease of handling and the responsiveness of the boat to the controls.
The continual advances in technology, combined with a properly engineered vessel, are critical factors to allow such responsiveness. Every vessel that uses Hamilton Jet drives must have the hull parameters matching with the engine, gear transmission, fire pumps and waterjets. Proper sizing of the jet drives has ensured that the boat will maintain stellar performance with cost-effective operation for years to come.
Jastram Technologies collaborated both with VFD, MetalCraft Marine, the boat builder, and the Hamilton Jet factory to ensure that all engineering was completed and that the Vancouver Fire Department had a predicted performance curve, which has proved to be accurate in practice. Sea trial figures matched the prediction exactly, and that’s how Jastram likes it. In fact, it’s the only way they will consider to move forward on a boat build.
Jay Milner of Metalcraft Marine and Assistant Chief Ken LePard headed up the design and build team, allowing full collaboration between the builder and the owners. Jastram Technologies, among the many suppliers to the vessel, worked very closely with the team to ensure that the correct and suitable propulsion product was chosen.
It is with considerable pride that this author watched the new boat perform its manoeuvres. Watching “my jets” doing their thing was immensely satisfying, and hearing the applause from the assembled crowd was gratifying. We all did a good job. And it was time to celebrate.
Michael Gardiner is the Technical Sales Manager – Canada for Jastram Technologies and represents Hamilton Jets in Canada. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.