The Newtown Pentacle

Altissima quaeque flumina minimo sono labi

unseen fingers

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– photo by Mitch Waxman

We only have nineteen days left until the end of the world on December 21 when the Mayan Calendar’s 13th b’ak’tun ends, and if you’ve got apocalypse problems, the FDNY Fireboat Three Forty Three is the sort of tool you will need to make it through the storm. I’ve talked a bit about this ship in the past, in the posts “growing ferocity” and “betwixt the horns“.

In another posting describing another model of Fireboat– “The Bravest”, a lecture conducted by an FDNY Harbor Unit commander- Chief James Dalton of the Marine 6 unit– which I had attended was mentioned.

Information passed on in this weeks Maritime Sunday posting is gleaned from the copious hand written notes I scribbled down during that lecture. Any errors will be due to my own confabulation of transmitted fact.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Three Forty Three is 140 feet long, and built for speed. Its flared bow allows it to cut through waves, and has a relationship to the engineering of the past, present, and future models of the Staten Island Ferry– height wise. The Marine Unit works with and utilizes land based fire companies to combat fires, and the boat is designed to accommodate and transport as many as thirty lubbers. The bulkhead is designed to flood and drain itself, which allows the boat to adjust its vertical height.

As seen in the shot above, however, it’s the monitors which amaze.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Monitor is what you call the high pressure water hose nozzle on a fireboat, and Three Forty Three has six. 5,200 gallons per minute, the main one of the fore is capable of 17,500 gpm alone. The monitors at the corners of the boat also serve as a self protection system, and operate as foggers to defeat radiant heat. In addition to water, they can also access and deploy two 1,600 tanks of fire retardant foam. There are also four manifolds which allow conventional fire hoses to be attached to the pumps, and connections are found for FDNY standard three inch and NJ five and twelve inch equipment.

Everything described is remote controlled from the hermetic wheel house.

– photo by Mitch Waxman

Below deck is an interagency municipal command center connected to an esoteric series of sensors and electronic systems. Situational awareness is the purpose of a lot of what happens on the lower deck. There is also the engine room, which outputs an inconceivable 8,000 HP to either the pumps or the four sixty inch variable pitch propellers which provide motive actuation. There is also a crane with a man basket and a monitor, and a 17 foot launch for rescues. Additionally, there are capstans which can be used for towing or anchoring at various locations onboard.

A hearty, and awe stricken, Maritime Sunday shout out is sent to the crew of the Three Forty Three, who will surely ride out the Mayan Apocalypse and probably end up saving the world.


Written by Mitch Waxman

December 2, 2012 at 12:15 am

2 Responses

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  1. Amazing ship! The short sighted powers that be in Vancouver, B.C. sold our fireboat years ago. They’ve also decided we don’t need a coast guard station here either so it’s being shut down.

    David Dickson

    December 2, 2012 at 10:15 am

  2. . . . and 30 days to the Honeymooners marathon. (“Ralph, salad.”)


    December 2, 2012 at 10:28 am

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