High-performance fireboats for New York City designed by Robert Allan Ltd.

May 25, 2006


In July 2005, the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) awarded a contract for the design of their new fast response fireboats to Robert Allan Ltd. of Vancouver, BC following an internationally bid design competition. Since then, the design team has been working closely with the FDNY project team finalizing the functional requirements for the vessel, assessing alternatives, and developing the concept design. In March 2006, the project successfully completed a comprehensive Value Engineering process, during which a panel of independent marine and fire fighting industry experts reviewed the proposed design and, in concert with the Robert Allan Ltd. and FDNY design teams, assessed the merits of a variety of suggested options. The design process is now moving full steam ahead to the detailed design stage, which will lead to an anticipated tender call for two new fireboats in the fall of 2006.

The new fast response fireboats are designed to specifically address the fire-fighting and rescue needs of the greater New York harbour including responding to CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive) incidents, and Hazmat decontamination. The pumping system is configured for marine fire incident response, and to support land based firefighters with a 50,000 gpm total pumping capacity (at 150 psi) connected to a system of hoses capable of supplying water up to 5 miles inland.


The new fireboats will have the following particulars:


Length, overall
Beam, moulded
Depth, moulded
Maximum draft (overall)
– 42.67 metres (140’0″)
– 10.97 metres (36′ 0″)
– 4.87 metres (16′ 0″)
– 2.74 metres (9′ 0″)


The tank capacities are as follows:


Potable water
Fi Fi foam
– 34 m³ (9,000 gallons)
– 3.8 m³ (1,000 gallons)
– 7.6 m³ (2,000 gallons)


The fireboats are designed for a response speed of 17.4 knots (20 mph), with a low wake, 12 knot cruising/patrol speed. The powering, seakeeping, and wake generation characteristics of the semi-displacement hull form were all verified in an extensive model testing program conducted in Vancouver, Canada, and confirmed with subsequent self propelled model testing in Vienna, Austria. The installed propulsion power will be approximately 4 x 1,343 kW (1,800 hp).


The fire-fighting equipment for the new fireboats will comprise the following:


  • Fire pumps
    • 4 x 2,400 m³/hr at 14 bar each (4 x 10,600 gpm at 200 psi)
  • Fire monitors:
    • water only 1 x 3,860 m³/hr (17,000 gpm)
    • water/foam 6 x 1,200 m³/hr (5,300 gpm)
    • water only 4 x 450 m³/hr (2,000 gpm)



The largest fire monitor (17,000 gpm) has a throw of over 210 metres (700′) from the fireboat.


The configuration of the FDNY fireboats, shown in the attached General Arrangement drawing and illustration, will have the following features:


  • Wheelhouse
    • arranged with 360°, high level visibility
  • Command Centre
    • a sophisticated communications centre for coordinating on-scene activities with land based resources
  • Main deck:
    • large water level rescue platform for casualty recovery
    • rescue boat arranged for rapid deployment
    • crane fitted with telescoping ladder for high level water stream and access to the deck of ships
    • large working deck areas with generous access along house sides
    • multiple hydrant outlets in deck “corners” incorporating large hose connection outlets for water supply to shore systems
  • Deckhouse:
    • fire equipment room—outfitted to store hoses, fittings, rescue equipment, etc., accessed by an 2.5 metre (8′) wide roll up door
    • decontamination shower/Hazmat assessment space, with multiple head shower for decontamination of crew/casualties
    • triage room—primary treatment area for casualties
    • transport room—seating area for treated casualties or for transport of land based fire fighting companies
  • Below deck:
    • engine room with full walking height access to all machinery
    • crew accommodations outfitted to house live aboard crew or provide rest area in the event of extended operations


The FDNY fireboats will certainly be the largest and have the greatest fire fighting capacity of any fireboats in North America, if not the world. The current schedule anticipates delivery of the new fireboats to New York in 2008.

For more information on these new vessels, please contact us.