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.
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.”