All but a fourth of the boat’s 400 thousand dollar price tag was paid for with the federal grant. The rest came from the fire department’s fund for new vehicles.
The vessel is faster and more efficient than the department’s current boat. Fire Chief Greg Frederick says it’s also versatile enough to handle most of the city’s aquatic emergencies.
“We get a number of calls that range from jumpers on the bridges to boats that are in distress, boat fires, marina fires, things of that nature,” he says. “On average we have probably about 250 calls a year on the river.”
The department’s current boat will be put in reserve and eventually retired. The new boat has a nine-person crew, five of whom are divers.
Some of the suburban fire districts also have boats.
“I believe there are several other districts: The Harrod’s Creek Fire Department has a fire boat; the North Oldham Fire Department has a boat as well,” says Frederick. “At this point, I’m not positive about downriver, what we have down below the lock and dam system.”
The new boat was built in Jeffersonville.