Fort Myers Fire Department receives new boat to help with sea emergencies



Boats and boat sales have increased tremendously during the pandemic.

It also means more traffic on the water.

And if you plan to celebrate the New Year 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 Brigade Deputy Chief James Hayden said crews are definitely notice an increase in calls around the holidays.

“The kind of call that we normally run on our men overtakes our missing people in the country. With nighttime scanning able to identify his signature in the water, kayakers sometimes get lost and stuck in the mangroves,” says Hayden. “We can access mangroves to shallower areas and get to them quickly.”

The new boat, says Hayden, will give the fire department a huge advantage. It is also a necessity to replace their old, outdated ones.

“It didn’t have the workspace we needed for people to work safely. If we meet a victim in the water, we really have nowhere to go to save them. If there’s an active fire, we really don’t have enough room to move around the boat,” said Fort Myers Fire Captain Joey Shogren.

The larger, stiffer boat gets tech updates like heat detection, night vision and on-board expandability.

“It has a wider beam. It’s longer, and the upgraded electronics are an integral part of how we’re able to locate people on the water,” says Hayden.

Shogren said the boat holds more equipment.

“The fire pump is bigger, easier to operate, and we can pour more foam and put out fires safely and better than before,” says Shogren.

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

“We could back straight out and turn right and we were on the river just minutes from where we needed to be. So it’s definitely will Shogren said.

The fire department is encouraging people to follow water safety practices over the New Year’s Eve weekend, and reminds boaters not to set off fireworks on board the boat.

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Aila Slisco

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