RAnger 2000 Class fireboat Independence for Philadelphia from Robert Allan Ltd.

December 20, 2007


On December 14, 2007, the new RAnger 2000 Class fireboat, Independence, was commissioned by the City of Philadelphia Fire Department. The vessel was designed by Robert Allan Ltd. of Vancouver, BC, who won this internationally bid design contract, and was built by Derecktor Shipyards of Bridgeport, Connecticut. The project had a long gestation period, however the end result fulfills all of the Owner’s expectations and requirements. Mr. Hans F. Muhlert, P. Eng. was the Design Project Manager for Robert Allan Ltd., working closely with the City of Philadelphia Fire Department and Office of Fleet Management personnel to develop the final design details and specifications. Robert Allan Ltd. also provided construction overseeing services throughout the build period.

This new fast response, shallow-draft fireboat, which is of all-welded aluminium construction, is designed to specifically address the fire fighting and rescue needs of the Philadelphia region waterfront. It is equipped to provide emergency services along the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers. In service the Independence will have a regional responsibility from as far north as Trenton, New Jersey, all the way south to the Delaware Bay. Consequently, the fireboat has extreme water depth and air-draft constraints, the latter at 18 feet to navigate under city bridges. The boat is also strengthened to operate in thin ice in this region.



The final cost of the fireboat will be approximately 5 million dollars. The Pennsylvania Southeast Region Counterterrorism Task Force provided the construction cost of 4.5 million dollars; the City’s general fund paid the remaining five hundred thousand dollars for the design, specification and construction oversight with some operating funds contributed by both Office of Fleet Management and Fire Department on outfitting.


The Independence has the following particulars:

Length Overall
Beam, Moulded
Depth, Moulded
Maximum Draft (overall)
– 66′-2″ (20.15 metres)
– 19′-8″ ( 6.00 metres)
– 7′-6″ ( 2.28 metres)
– 2′-8″ ( 0.81 metres)


The tank capacities are as follows:

Potable Water
F i-Fi foam
– 1600 US Gallons (6,095 Litres)
– 50 US Gallons ( 190 Litres)
– 30 US Gallons ( 870 Litres)


The fuel capacity is sufficient for eight (8) hours of continuous fire-fighting, including deployment and return to base.

The fireboat was designed for a normal response speed of 28 knots, but through careful weight management the vessel was able to achieve a full load trial speed of 36 knots.



The propulsion/pumping system is rather unique, comprising four main engines, each driving a waterjet, with the two inboard engines also connected to the two main fire pumps at the forward end. Thus all four engines are utilized to achieve top speed in an emergency response, then the two inboard engines are de-clutched from the jets and used to drive the fire pumps while the outboard waterjets are used to control the boat position and heading. Total installed propulsion power is 4 x 825 BHP (4 x 615 kW) from four MTU Series 60 main engines. The waterjets are Hamilton Model HJ403.

Electrical power is supplied by a pair of Onan diesel gen-sets, each rated 27.5 kW, with full battery back-up for critical and emergency systems.

The unique features of the design include the carriage of all fuel in tanks isolated from the main hull, in order to mitigate any risk of fuel spill, and the use of push-knees on the bow when holding station against vessels or piers. The wheelhouse is fitted with all-round, overhead viewing windows.


The Fire-fighting equipment for the RAnger 2000 Class comprises:

  • Fire pumps
    • 2 x 2,750 gpm (630 m³/hr), engine-driven
  • Fire monitors
    • 1 x 3,500 gpm (800 m³/hr) – remote controlled, and operated on a hinged lifting mast for elevated operations
    • 1 x 1,500 gpm (343 m³/hr) – manual controls, forward
    • 2 x 1,000 gpm (2 x 230 m³/hr) – manual controls


Included in this outfit is a quick response booster reel for extinguishing small marine craft fires


The Independence, as illustrated in the attached General Arrangement drawing and photographs, has the following configuration and features:


  • Bridge
    • wheelhouse forward: arranged with maximum, all-round visibility
    • equipped with radar, electronic chart display, GPS, search lights, and for night rescue, a thermal imaging camera
  • Main Deck
    • fireman’s quarters and medical treatment room
    • crews’ quarters and galley areas are temperature controlled, and can be converted to medical care areas to stabilize rescued persons
    • fire-fighting equipment room: outfitted to store hoses, fittings, rescue equipment, etc. to complete the PFD’s mission
    • rigid inflatable type rescue boat, arranged for rapid deployment and recovery on a launching cradle
    • multiple hydrant outlets for water supply to shore systems
    • flush-mounted, hinged machinery access/removal flush hatches
    • a floating rescue basket and crane hoist compliment the water rescue capability
  • Below Deck
    • crew accommodation, outfitted to house four (4) crew in the event of extended operations
    • crew pantry and lavatory facilities
    • additional storage spaces
    • engine room
    • waterjet compartment


During mobilization the fireboat will be manned by a pilot and engineer from the Philadelphia Fire Marine Division, along with firefighters and EMT’s from land based units.

For more information on this new high-performance fireboat, or on any other RAnger Series emergency response vessels, please contact us.