Lewes fire-and-rescue boat back in action

September 12, 2019

Lewes Fire Department’s fire-and-rescue boat was put back into service nearly a year after it sank at its dock at the end of Pilottown Road near Roosevelt Inlet. 

The vessel returned to Lewes Aug. 12 after undergoing months of repairs at Fairlead Marine in Virginia. 

An exhaust leak caused the Lewes fire-and-rescue boat to sink Aug. 30, 2018. The leak allowed water to enter the hull and the bilge pump was rendered inoperable due to failure of power source, said public information officer Glenn Marshall at the time. 

The fire-and-rescue boat is the largest of the department’s three marine units. The 44-foot catamaran was purchased in 2008 for about $900,000, with $144,500 coming from a grant from the Department of Homeland Security. It is the department’s open-water vessel, capable of operating in the bay. According to the department’s website, the boat has twin 600 horsepower diesel engines with jet drive propulsion with a cruising speed of 30 knots and top speed estimated at 40 knots. It’s equipped with a 750-gallon fire pump, state-of-the-art electronics, thermal imaging camera, room for two patients in cabin and seating for operator plus a crew of eight.

Lewes Fire Department is responsible for emergency response in the Delaware Bay, Lewes-Rehoboth Canal, Roosevelt Inlet, Broadkill River, smaller tributaries, 15 miles of coastline, about 25 square miles of the Delaware Bay and about 50 square miles of the Atlantic Ocean.