OC Fire Department Adds New Rescue Boat

OC Fire Department Adds New Rescue Boat
A rescue was staged this week to demonstrate the capabilities of the fir department’s newest vessel. Photos by Tyler Horton

OCEAN CITY — The Ocean City Fire Department this week demonstrated one of the newest weapons in its arsenal, a low-draught rescue boat that is essentially a mobile floating ambulance.

The Ocean City Fire Department (OCFD) is an all hazards department that responds to all manner of emergencies on the land and on the water, the latter particularly prevalent during the summer months when there is often as much traffic on the back bays as there is on the highway. Responding quickly to and reaching incidents on the water is an important requirement for the OCFD and this week the department unveiled its newest tool in that all-important tool box.

Earlier this year, the OCFD took delivery of the low-draught 26-foot Sea Arch able to reach shallow water areas and sandbars during emergencies. The new rescue boat replaced another vessel used for a similar purpose. Essentially, the new 26-foot Sea Ark can and does carry much of the same critical lifesaving equipment as the OCFD’s ambulances.

The new rescue boat was put into service this summer by the OCFD’s Water Rescue Team, consisting of rescue swimmers, divers and boat operators. On Tuesday, the OCFD hosted a practical demonstration of the new rescue boat’s capabilities, complete with a simulated medical emergency. Throughout the summer, the OCFD’s water rescue team responds to medical emergencies and serious traumas in the bay, the ocean and the canals, said Chief Richie Bowers.

fireboat“This summer, our fireboat responded to calls for help and were able to mitigate the incidents and provide high-quality care to residents and visitors,” he said.

The OCFD and its water rescue team often partner with allied local, state and federal agencies on water-related incidents requiring immediate medical attention. Bowers said those partnerships include the Ocean City Beach Patrol, Maryland Natural Resources Police and often the U.S. Coast Guard.

“Our partnerships with our allied agencies is tremendous for life safety,” he said. “Working together on the water provides a service to those who live and visit Ocean City.”

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.