Ticonderoga Fire Department Chief Jeff Burns and Commissioner Calvin Cross stand with the company’s new rescue boat. The craft was donated by Snug Harbor Marina.
Ticonderoga firefighters have a new tool to utilize during water emergencies.
The Ti Fire Department has a 23-foot deck boat for use on Lake George, Lake Champlain, Eagle Lake and Putt’s Pond.
“Water rescue equipment is very expensive,” Jeff Burns, Ti fire chief, said. “We’re very fortunate to have this boat. We could never have gotten a boat like this on our own.”
The boat, which replaces an old pontoon boat, was donated to the department by Snug Harbor Marina in Ticonderoga.
“Snug Harbor has always done the maintenance on our old boat,” Burns said. “They saw we needed something better-suited and really stepped up. They donated the boat, the trailer and made a number of upgrades for us.”
The fire department purchased an $8,000 motor for the craft.
Burns thanked Bob Palandrani and Paul Bessett of Snug Harbor for the donation.
The old pontoon boat had a top speed of 16 mph, Burns explained. That meant it took substantial time for firefighters to respond to water emergencies.
The new deck boat travels at speeds up to 45 mph.
“That’s a big difference,” Burns said. “That extra speed can mean a lot in an emergency.”
Snug Harbor customized the new boat to meet the needs of the Ti fire company. Seats were removed to create more deck space for emergency personnel. Entry ways were widened to allow access for divers. Lighting for night use and a fire pump to battle boat fires and remote forest fires will be added.
The Ticonderoga Fire Department water rescue team has four divers and dive tenders. It works in conjunction with water rescue teams from Port Henry, Hague and Putnam.
Burns said his company gets upwards to a dozen water rescue calls each summer.
“We get a lot of boaters in distress,” the chief said. “A lot of boats break down and owners call us. We go out and give them a tow.”
The new craft has already been called out for an emergency response, rescuing a pair of rock climbers from the base of Rogers Rock on Lake George recently. The Hague Fire Department assisted.
The department boat is kept at the Ti fire station and launches, as needed, from state boat launches on Lake George, Lake Champlain, Eagle Lake and Putt’s Pond.
“Snug Harbor went above and beyond in helping us,” Burns said. “They saw a need in the department and they stepped up to help. We really appreciate everything they do.”
Calvin Cross, Ticonderoga Fire District commissioner, agreed.
“The fire commissioners are very happy with the boat and with the donation,” Cross said. “Money is tight and we now have a very nice rescue boat at very little cost. Snug Harbor deserves a lot of credit.”