The Duluth Fire Department formally took ownership this week of an all-hazard quick-response watercraft dubbed Marine 19 in honor of the 19 firefighters who have died in the line of duty since the department's inception in 1870.
The boat will be unveiled to the public at 10 a.m Wednesday, May 29, during a ceremony at the Pier B Resort Hotel slip.
Marine 19 was purchased with the help of a $447,750 Port Security FEMA grant, and a 25-percent match in the form of local funds totaling $149,250.
"Community support for this project has been outstanding," said Interim Fire Chief Shaw Krizaj in a written statement. "Much of the match dollars came from local business and some individual donations."
"This vessel is important not only for the Port of Duluth/Superior, but also as a regional or state resource. This is the only boat of its kind within the western Great Lakes," Krizaj said.
Marine 19 was built by Lake Assault Boats LLC of Superior. Its features include a thermal-imaging night-vision camera, side-scan sonar, radar, a GPS navigation system, pumps, a water cannon, firefighting foam, emergency medical equipment and gear to handle hazardous materials.
Firefighters will be conducting extensive training aboard the vessel all month.