New FDNY Fireboat Honoring 9/11 Fallen Commissioned


The FDNY’s new fireboat, the "Three Forty Three" was commissioned on Wednesday during ceremony at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum as part of the kick off of Fleet Week.

The boat's name honors the 343 FDNY members killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks and includes steel on the bow and stern from the World Trade Center.

The 140-foot, 500-ton, $27 million boat -- which the FDNY claims is the largest in the world -- has the ability to pump 50,000 gallons of water per minute.

With a top speed of 18 knots, the boat can move twice as fast as the department's older boats.

The boat is designed to detect and protect firefighters from chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear agents, and contains a pressurized area that filters the air supply using special charcoal and HEPA filters; allowing crew members to operate as needed in hostile environments, according to the FDNY.

"The Three Forty Three sends a powerful message to the world -- that our city and the fire department are stronger than ever," Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano said at the ceremony.

Other features of the boat include a forward ballast tank that lowers the boat in the water to match its deck with larger ferries that operate in the waters around New York City, a pilot house that allows the captain a 360-degree view and a command and control area where officers can monitor and direct fire operations with the aid of remote and state-of-the-art communication equipment.

"A lot of thought was put into the design of this boat," Chief of Special Operations William Seelig said. "You name it, this boat can help."

The new boat will be put into service in July and will replace the 56-year-old fireboat, the John D. McKean.

"We’ll need to get used to (the technology), but it handles beautifully and is capable of doing so much," Pilot Charles Stauder said.

The Three Forty Three and its sister ship "Firefighter II" -- currently undergoing trials in Panama City, Fla. -- were both funded in part by $54 million in DHS grants.