RAnger 2400 Class fireboat from Robert Allan Ltd. for Massachusetts Port Authority

October 11, 2011



In October 2011, the new RAnger 2400 Class Fireboat, American United was delivered to the Massachusetts Port Authority, Boston by the builder A.F. Theriault & Son Ltd., of Meteghan River, Nova Scotia, Canada. The vessel, named in remembrance of September 11, 2001, was designed by Robert Allan Ltd. of Vancouver, B.C., who worked closely with the Owner to define the vessel’s specific operational requirements. The American United will replace Massport’s existing vessel Howard W. Fitzpatrick, built in 1971. Darren Hass, P.Eng. was the Design Project Manager at Robert Allan Ltd. and Jody Bjerkeset, P.E., acted in the capacity of Owner’s Representative throughout the construction process.

This new high-performance fireboat is specifically designed to provide fast emergency response, search and rescue, fire-fighting operations, capability as an on-scene command post, port security, EMS and assistance with diving operations and recovery. The vessel is of all-welded aluminum construction and is ice-strengthened to suit year-round operations in Boston Harbour and surroundings. The vessel is equipped with a large aft swim platform, and thirty Switlik life rafts to facilitate rescue of aircraft crash survivors. The vessel is also fitted with a FLIR thermal imaging system and ample flood lighting for night time operation.

The vessel has been built in accordance with American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) Guide for Building and Classing High Speed Craft, but was not so classed, and satisfies the requirements for designation as an NFPA Class III fireboat.


The American United has the following particulars:

Length Overall
Beam, Moulded
Depth, Moulded
Maximum Draft
– 79′-1″ (24.10 metres) (excluding fenders)
– 22′-2″ (6.76 metres)
– 9′-7″ (2.92 metres)
– 7′-0″ (2.13 metres) (to bottom of props)


The tank capacities are:

Fuel Oil
Fresh Water
Fi-Fi Foam
Black Water
Grey Water
– 1,985 US gallons (7,510 litres)
– 200 US gallons (755 litres)
– 500 US gallons (1,890 litres)
– 150 US gallons (565 litres)
– 110 US gallons (415 litres)


The fireboat is designed for a full load response speed of 24 knots, which was achieved during trials, and a low-wake, 12 knot cruising/patrol speed. The powering, sea-keeping, and wake generation characteristics of this semi-displacement hull form were verified by computational fluid dynamic analysis (CFD).

The propulsion system consists of four main engines, each driving a fixed-pitch propeller, 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, and then the two inboard engines are de-clutched from the propellers and used to drive the fire pumps while the outboard engines are used to control the boat’s position and heading.

Total installed propulsion power is 2 x 1,450 BHP (2 x 1,080 kW) from two CAT C-32 ACERT engines and 2 x 873 BHP (2 x 650 kW) from two CAT C-18 ACERT engines. Propellers are five bladed, fixed-pitch, driven through ZF models 2000 A and 3050 V reverse-reduction gears on the inboard and outboard shafts respectively. The propeller design was chosen early in the design process for reliable operation in slush ice, which exists at times in the area of operation.

Electrical power is supplied by a pair of CAT C4.4 diesel gensets, each rated 76 ekW.

All engines are EPA Tier II certified.


The Fire-fighting equipment for the RAnger 2400 Class fireboat comprises the following:


  • Fire pumps:
    • 2 x CounterFire model 250-200-500 pumps, each rated 3,000 US gpm (11,350 l/min) at 150 psi (10 bar), driven off the front of CAT C-18 main engines
  • Fire monitors:
    • Wheelhouse top – 1 x Stang 3,000 US gpm (11,350 l/min), remote controlled
    • Forward – 2 x Stang 1,500 US gpm (2 x 5,680 l/min), manual controls
    • Deckhouse top aft – 2 x Stang 1,500 gpm (2 x 5,680 l/min), manual controls
  • Fi-Fi Hydrants:
    • Forward – 1 x 5″ and 3 x 2 ½” hydrants
    • Aft – 1 x 5″ and 3 x 2 ½” hydrants


In addition, there is a foam injection system which can be directed to any selected monitor. The Fi-Fi system utilizes FRP piping throughout, for its reduced weight and corrosion resistance properties.




The American United, illustrated in the attached General Arrangement drawing and photographs, has the following features:


  • Bridge Deck:
    • wheelhouse forward: arranged with maximum, all-round visibility, and with overhead viewing windows. Wheelhouse controls consist of a centreline main navigation console, a port side docking station and starboard fi-fi controls.
    • A command centre is located aft in the wheelhouse with chart table for coordinating on-scene activities with land based resources
  • Main Deck:
    • fire-fighting equipment room: outfitted with shelving to store hoses, fittings, rescue equipment, SCBA air packs, etc. and serving double duty as a medical treatment room, accessed by a 6′ wide stainless steel roll-up door
    • crew transport room: comfortable seating area with television and lockers for crew’s gear and PFD storage
    • large water level rescue platform for diver access and casualty recovery
    • multiple hydrant outlets for water supply to shore systems
    • flush-mounted, machinery access/removal flush hatch
    • exterior aft controls on main deck
  • Below Deck:
    • crew accommodation outfitted to provide a crew rest area in the event of extended operations
    • lavatory facilities
    • a spacious engine room with full walking height access to all machinery
    • the steering gear flat, in which foam tanks and FM 200 fire suppression system are also located
    • 75 HP (55 kW) Wesmar model V2-18, electrically driven bow thruster, for enhanced station-keeping and close quarters manoeuvring control


In addition to the American United, the worldwide fleet of major fireboats designed by Robert Allan Ltd. includes new fireboats for New York, Chicago, Kuwait, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Shenzhen (China), Dongguan (China), and Portland, Maine.

For more information on the American United, or any other RAnger Class emergency vessels, please contact us at design@ral.ca.

Photos courtesy of A.F. Theriault & Son Ltd.