Fabrication of New Boat 4
By Firefighter / NREMT Edward (Eddie) Raley
May 7, 2022

During October of 2020 the Ridge Volunteer Fire Department appointed a committee to look into the replacement for our existing 25’ SeaArk Fire / Rescue Boat. Current Boat 4 has provided protection for the citizens of St. Mary’s County for nearly 20 years. As our call volume continues to increase each year and with the extreme adverse conditions that we work in, we felt it was time for a new Fire / Rescue vessel that could handle most dangerous conditions that the Chesapeake Bay has as well as providing water supply to waterfront property fires throughout the County and neighboring jurisdictions.
After a large amount of research, trips to boatyards, and looking at other fire vessels recently built, (special thanks to Tilghman Island and Grasonville Volunteer Fire Departments for their assistance) we began to develop specifications for our new Fire / Rescue Boat which will provide us years of service.

We awarded a contract to P.L. Jones Boatyard and Marina in Hoopers Island, Maryland. Mr. Jones has a wealth of knowledge and is willing to custom build whatever you wish. He is a 4th generation boat builder and is known for his quality of workmanship and building Chesapeake Bay built vessels. With that said, you can count on your vessels holding up to the elements thrown at you by the Chesapeake Bay.

P.L. Jones is currently custom building the RVFD a 42’ fiberglass vessel. The vessel will be equipped with some of the latest Garmin electronics and will have a 2000GPM Waterous fire pump which is powered by a Cummins QSL 9 marine diesel engine. The vessel will be equipped with a 1250GPM roof turret which is remotely controlled in the cab. There will be two 5” discharges located in the transom area. The vessel will be powered by 3 Yamaha 425 OTO Engines with dual helm steering stations.

Boat Committee Chairman John "Peanut" Gatton stated "We, like everyone else, have felt and continue to feel the ramifications of COVID 19. The ability to obtain material and equipment has been a nightmare at best. However, I must credit our vendors as they all continue to push forward."

Chairman Gatton also commented "The department would like to thank Delegate Brian Crosby for securing the department a $500,000.00 dollar grant for the project. Without his assistance, this project would not have happened."

This vessel will serve the citizens of St. Mary’s County and neighboring jurisdictions for years to come. But most of all, it vastly improves the safety of our members who always have to operate in adverse conditions. The Ridge Volunteer Fire Department would like to thank Peanut and all the boat committee members. Your research, planning and dedication will provide RVFD with one of the finest fire/rescue boats on the Western Shore of the Chesapeake.