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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber Farmun's Avatar
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    Default Tacoma Fireboat Pics?

    Hey brothers/sisters from Washington-

    About 10 years ago I had the pleasure of taking a trip to your state to visit relatives. While there I stopped by one of the Tacoma Fireboat stations. The guys there were nice enough to take me down to the boat and show me around. I was truly impressed with the dual setup of being a conventional hull and a hovercraft. Truly awsome and very unique boats. I have been trying to find pics of either of Tacoma's two boats and have not had any luck. None on thier FD website and search engine image searches return nothing. Do any of you have pictures of their boats you could pass on to me?

    Thanks in advance for any help.


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber Farmun's Avatar
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    Bump, still looking...anyone out there with pics? Thanks.

  3. #3
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    Hopefully you have already received my last message about The fireboat. I can let you have several links regarding the vessel, try this one
    http://www.hovercraft.co.uk/hm221.html

  4. #4
    Forum Member RLFD14's Avatar
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    I see that this thread has been raised from a coma, but here we go anyway....

    The link in the above post was the only place I could turn up myself when I searched. The pic is attached below, and is the Defiance right after it was delivered (incomplete markings on it):

    This link has some cool commentary and a few diagrams of the Tacoma boats:
    http://www.fireboat.org/FEMAfireboatsthennowMay2003.pdf

    I grew up in Tacoma and had the good fortune to tour both Defiance and Commencement at one time or another.

    At one time both boats had full-time staffing, however budget cuts have more or less mothballed one boat, and the other is cross-staffed with the crew of E6 when they happen to be available, so Station 5 is closed and both boats are at Station 18 about 200' from Station 6. Not good when E6 is one of only two industrial-area (locally called the "Tideflats") Engine companies..... when the call comes in do you roll the Engine or run to the dock? They've rolled and turned around before.

    Making matters worse, the other Tideflats Engine (E15) is being relocated to the very busy Southeast area of Tacoma to pick up the slack for beleagured E8, E10 and E11, so E6 will probably be moved from their location across the street from the fireboats to a more centralized location. There also used to be a station between 6's and 15's with an ALS Ambulance and a Ladder that was itself relocated farther away when Tacoma assumed fire coverage of Fife and consolidated equipment at the Fife station. Pretty thin covering there.

    When delivered, both boats had aerial devices, but at some point one of them (don't remember which) had it removed.

    But... the good news. Tacoma Fire recently was awarded a DHS grant to completely refit one of the fireboats (they are about 25 years old now, and the original hull life of both boats "expired" in 2001). Maybe they'll get to paint it red to match the rest of today's fleet, too.

    These boats were cutting-edge tech when they went into service. Not sure why there weren't more built for other places and so few photos online.
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    Last edited by RLFD14; 06-14-2006 at 10:44 PM.
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  5. #5
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    Smile Tacoma Fireboats

    Hi
    Interesting to see the comments re Tacoma fireboats. I worked for the company that built them in Southampton England, (Vosper Hovermarine). I now look back to those times as the best working years of my life. I was really envious of a couple of my workmates who were chosen to visit Tacoma to assist in the commisioning of the boats after delivery. We built similar boats for Rottadam Port authority in Holland.
    Ken Walton

  6. #6
    Forum Member RLFD14's Avatar
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    Found another one
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    Forum Member RLFD14's Avatar
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    Well, as chance would have it, my wife is back in Tacoma for a couple of days for a family wedding. She has therefore been assigned to get some good pics of the Tacoma fireboats. We'll see what she comes back with.

    Quote Originally Posted by watchamush
    Hi
    Interesting to see the comments re Tacoma fireboats. I worked for the company that built them in Southampton England, (Vosper Hovermarine).
    Ken Walton
    Ken, did you hear about the time Defiance hit a nearly submerged derelict barge at full speed? Was back in the late 80's I think. The barge was riding so low in the water that it did not show up on radar, and being near dead of night was not seen by the pilot. Smashed both hulls, and she lodged onto the barge enough that Commencement had to come pull her off. Still, she settled something like five inches lower in the water than normal, and motored into drydock under her own power.

    These truly were (and still are) amazing boats.

    After doing some more research, it was Commencement that was chosen for refit, and I think the work might even have been completed by now.
    Last edited by RLFD14; 06-18-2006 at 04:54 PM.
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    Forum Member RLFD14's Avatar
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    Forum Member RLFD14's Avatar
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    Forum Member RLFD14's Avatar
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    So ten pics is probably overkill but hopefully anyone who wants to see something saw it in one of these.

    Looks like both fireboats have had their aerial devices removed now. The second pic on this thread shows what they looked like originally.

    Commencement was the boat slated for refitting, but that doesn't seem to have happened yet, as parts are missing from the boat (for example the front-right waterline nozzle). Also, some of its markings have been removed - maybe a good sign.... paint job coming up? I know Defiance was the boat that ran up to a big marina fire in Gig Harbor a while back -- noteworthy because one of its engines failed en route and slowed its response. :sad:

    Hopefully Tacoma Fire can get at least one of these boats back in fighting condition soon.

    I still have relatives in the area (and also and a few contacts at Tacoma Fire) and can try to get something specific if desired.

    Stay safe.
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    Last edited by RLFD14; 06-21-2006 at 11:01 PM.
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