The Three Forty-Three – First of a pair of world-class, high-performance fireboats for New York City

April 29, 2010



In late April, 2010, the first RAnger 4200 Class fireboat Three Forty-Three completed trials and was delivered to its proud Owners, the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) for the voyage home to New York City. The Three Forty-Three is named in honour of the firefighters of New York City who lost their lives in the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, and all the name boards on the ship are cut from steel salvaged from those buildings.

The Three Forty-Three is the first of two (2) new fireboats to this design to be built at Eastern Shipbuilding Inc. of Panama City, Florida, with the second vessel due for completion in the summer of 2010. These fireboats were designed by Robert Allan Ltd. of Vancouver, B.C., under the direction of Ken Harford, P. Eng. as the Principal-in-Charge, and Derek Noon, Project Manager. The scope of work awarded to Robert Allan Ltd. as the result of an international design competition included complete engineering and design of the new boats from initial concept through detailed engineering design and included a comprehensive value engineering process. The company’s scope also included the support of FDNY through every stage of major component procurement and the shipbuilding contract award. Robert Allan Ltd.’s experienced shipyard supervisory staff, led by Jody Bjerkeset, P.E., has also acted in the capacity of Owner’s Representatives onsite in the shipyard throughout the entire construction process.

These major new fast response fireboats are designed to specifically address the fire-fighting and rescue needs of the greater New York harbour, including the New Jersey shore. This includes the capability within the vessel to respond to any CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear) incident.

These new RAnger 4200 Class fireboats have the following particulars:

Length Overall
Beam, Moulded
Depth, Moulded
Maximum Draft (overall)
– 42.67 m (140′-0″)
– 10.97 m (36′-0″)
– 4.87 m (16′-0″)
– 2.74 m (9′-0″)

Tank capacities are as follows:

Potable Water
Fi-Fi foam
– 35.3 m³ (9,350 gallons)
– 3.9 m³ (1,050 gallons)
– 12.5 m³ (3,300 gallons)

The fireboats are designed for a response speed of 17.4 knots, with a low-wake, 12 knot cruising/patrol speed, and a total pumping capacity in excess of 50,000 GPM at 150 psi. The powering, seakeeping, and wake generation characteristics of the semi-displacement hull form were all verified in an extensive model-testing program. The total installed propulsion power is 4 x 1,492 kW (4 x 2,000 hp).

The fire-fighting equipment for the new fireboats, all supplied by Fire-Fighting Systems (FFS) of Norway, comprises the following:

Fire pumps – 4 x 2,230 m³/hr (10,000 gpm at 200 psi/ approx. 13, 650 gpm at 150 psi) each
Fire monitors
water only
water only
water only
– 1 x 3,850 m³/hr (17,000 gpm)
– 6 x 1,200 m³/hr (5,280 gpm) each
– 4 x 600 m³/hr (2,600 gpm) each
– 1 x 300 m³/hr (crane boom)



The propulsion configuration of the RAnger 4200 Class fireboats was determined after extensive evaluation of the cost-effectiveness of numerous options, including Z-drives and waterjets. Given the imposed draft limitations as well as the speed and fire-pump drive requirements, the final solution was a quadruple-screw, controllable pitch propeller system. The four main engines are MTU Model 12V-4000 M70, each rated 2,240 bhp (1,671 kW) at 2,000 rpm. The engines each drive a Hundested CP propeller, 1,778 mm in diameter through Hundested model CPG(H) 120(L) speed-reducing gearboxes, and also drive the four main fire pumps through front end PTO’s. Station-keeping during fire-fighting is enhanced by the incorporation of a Wesmar model “Vortex V2-26” tunnel type bow thruster, driven by an electric motor.

The CBRN system was designed in collaboration with NAVSEA and the FDNY Hazardous materials Group. In addition to creating a clean air pressurized citadel, air locks with decontamination facilities for the crew are provided at the designated entry to the fireboat superstructure, leading to a HazMat Assessment space and then a Triage Room that is fully equipped as a marine ambulance.

The configuration of these major new fireboats, illustrated in the attached General Arrangement drawing, has the following features:


  • Bridge deck level
    • comprises the wheelhouse, arranged with 360°, high level, all-round visibility
  • Upper deck level
    • includes the Command Centre: a sophisticated, inter-operable communications centre in direct communication with the wheelhouse above, for coordinating on-scene activities with various land and air-based resources
  • Main deck level
    • at this level, the main response level for the fireboats, are located:
      • a large water level rescue platform for casualty recovery and dive support operations
      • fast rescue boat, arranged for rapid deployment
      • crane fitted with telescoping ladder for high level water stream and access
      • 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
    • the main deckhouse at this level incorporates:
      • fire equipment room: outfitted to store hoses, fittings, rescue equipment, etc., accessed by an 8′-0″ wide, stainless-steel roll up door
      • de-contamination shower/Hazmat assessment space, with multiple head shower for decontamination of crew/casualties
      • triage room: the primary treatment area for any casualties
      • transport room: a comfortable seating area forward for treated casualties or for transport of land based fire-fighting companies with SCBA air packs and tank banks in the aft end of room
      • CBRN filter/fan room with high performance fans and Navy grade air filtration system
      • CBRN air lock chamber allowing for egress from Citadel space without contaminating it
  • Below deck
    • engine room with full walking height access to all machinery
    • crew accommodations outfitted to house a live-aboard crew or simply to provide a crew rest area in the event of extended operations



Additional equipment aboard these powerful fireboats includes a state of the art power generation system, comprising two Northern Lights, 235 kW diesel gen-sets, supplying 460 volt, 3 phase, 60 Hz power to the entire ship. The system includes an auto-start feature to prevent anything more than a minor interruption in primary power, and in addition there is a comprehensive UPS system for all critical machinery control and communication functions.

The communications and nav-aids equipment suite is extremely comprehensive, and incorporates the following:

  • Furuno navigation suite comprising NavNet Radars, chart displays and chart plotter, DGPS, AIS, Satellite and Magnetic Compass, water depth/temp sensors, Weather Station
  • Boat communications suite, which includes a multitude of radios:
    • ICOM VHFs,
    • Motorola UHFs, 800 MHz,
    • MDR810 Mobile Data Terminals
    • Furuno FM 8800S
    • Raytheon ACU 1000 Interoperable Radio
    • Fleet Broadband SatCom
  • In addition there are the following:
    • EPIRB
    • Audio Recorder
    • Scanner
    • Loudhailer
    • Smart Sirens
    • Emergency Service Lights
    • Air horn and whistle
    • FLIR thermal imaging unit
    • Bosch extreme optical camera
    • Boat-wide CCTV system
    • Talkback/intercom system, and a
    • Sound powered phone system




The FDNY fireboats will be the largest, and have the greatest fire-fighting capacity of any fireboats in North America, and are amongst the most capable of the top two or three dedicated fireboats worldwide. This project was one of those all too rare occasions where there was tremendous teamwork and cooperation between the Owner, the Naval Architect and the Shipbuilder. Recognizing both the historic and emotional significance of these fine boats brought out the “A-team” in every company involved in the project. The Three Forty-Three and its sister, to be christened Firefighter 2 will replace the venerable John D. McKean (built in 1954), and the Firefighter (built in 1938) respectively. These powerful and capable new fireboats are destined to have equally distinguished careers in one of the world’s great cities, and Robert Allan Ltd. are extremely proud to have been honoured with a key role in their development.

Robert Allan Ltd. has emerged in the past very few years as the leading designer of major fireboats worldwide, having designed, in addition to the FDNY vessels, new fireboats for the ports of Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Shenzhen (China), Dongguan (China), and Portland, Maine. Currently under construction are further new fireboats to our designs for Kuwait, Dongguan, Massport (Boston) and Chicago.

For further information on the Three Forty-Three or any of the RAnger Series fireboats, please contact us.