- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 8, 2003

ANNAPOLIS (AP) — Anne Arundel County’s new piece of fire equipment will begin responding to emergencies along the county’s 500-plus miles of shoreline this week.Officials say it’s one of the best-outfitted fireboats in Maryland and could be a prototype for other state agencies looking into acquiring such an apparatus.With more than 300 marinas, 12,000 boat slips and nearly 40 percent of the state’s 200,000 registered pleasure boats, firefighters say Anne Arundel County has long needed a fully functioning emergency response boat.With the new boat, crews can pump 3,000 gallons of water per minute from two hoses — more pumping power than many fire engines.Firefighters were putting finishing touches on the boat at Matapeake Terminal in Queen Anne’s County before its public debut today.The boat has large windows on either side of a fully enclosed, air-conditioned interior and handles smoothly.”She’s beautiful,” said Capt. Mike Greenhawk, who trained 24 firefighters to operate the boat. “And she’s exactly what we wanted.”County firefighters are especially proud of the Lady Anne because they helped design the jet-driven vessel. The county footed $75,000 of the $460,000 bill for the boat. State grants covered the rest.Three firefighters, one retired firefighter and a retired naval architect pooled their knowledge to design what they say is the perfect fireboat for Anne Arundel County.”This was the greatest team we could have ever hoped to put together,” said Howard Chatterton, the architect. He said he attended about 60 fireboat meetings last year.The design team trained on the boat for about eight weeks.The boat is about 15 tons and 43 feet from stern to bow, but the size doesn’t impede its maneuverability, designers said. The boat needs 3 feet of water in which to operate, can move sideways and takes just 1 ½ boat lengths to slow from 40 knots — 46 mph — to a halt.”This boat has an unbelievable amount of control,” said Division Chief Stuart McNicol, head of special operations for the Anne Arundel County Fire Department.

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