Surplus boats could be CKFR's gain

Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue is hoping to increase their response time on the water by obtaining two 23-foot boats from the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard is currently in the process of standardizing to 25-foot boats and are surplusing the 23-footers. CKFR is hoping to obtain the boats through a government surplus boat program.

The Coast Guard gives to federal agencies first, so for a better chance at getting the two boats in as early as September, CKFR is working closely with Puget Sound Federal Fire.

“They would receive the boats then transfer them to us,” said Jay Lovato, CKFR battalion chief. “They are totally supportive because of the amount of water around us and the fact that there is no Coast Guard in the immediate area.”

CKFR currently has an inflatable 17-foot boat and trailer based at Station 51 in Silverdale. Compared to the Coast Guard boats, the 17-foot boat has a smaller motor and deck area. It has also become a mechanical liability, spending more time being maintained then out on the water.

The new 23-foot boats have a much bigger work area, are equipped with twin 150-horsepower motors and are reliable.

“The 17-foot boat is okay, but we want to improve our response time with the larger motor and be able to have more workspace,” Lovato said.

CKFR handles approximately 10-12 water responses a year usually in the Hood Canal, Dyes Inlet and Port Orchard Bay areas. They have been called to other areas including the Tri-Lakes about four months ago.

The 23-foot Coast Guard boats are made locally by SAFE Boats International at Olympic View Industrial Park next to the Bremerton National Airport. They are very durable and are constructed of solid closed-cell polyethylene foam. Their construction includes a collar system which can absorb a major impact and recover its shape, a durable hull made with welded 5086 marine grade aluminum and a full marine grade breaker panel. One of the boats CKFR is hoping to obtain is in Port Angeles and the other is in Oregon.

CKFR officials are beginning to discuss training and insurance factors and are currently contemplating where the boats would be stored. They also have begun coordinating with officials from the Sheriff’s Department Marine Program.

“We are positive about procuring these boats, right now we are the only ones trying to get them,” Lovato said.

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