New Boat 4 Fabrication Update
By Firefighter Edward (Eddie) Raley
April 28, 2023

The members of the Ridge Volunteer Fire Department are proud to provide an update to the citizens of the 1st District and St. Mary’s County. As it has been nearly two years since the start of this project, we can see the light for completion in the very near future. We couldn’t have done it without the expertise of the employees at P.L. Jones Boatyard on Hooper Island, Maryland. The construction delay due to astronomical lead times for material was a tremendous task of its own caused by the COVID pandemic.

At this time the Fire / Rescue boat has completed Phase 1 of the Sea Trials. This phase included the use of all the navigating electronics, the propulsion system and propulsion accessories for the vessel. While there were some minor deficiencies noted, all issues have been corrected to date. Phase II, (which is expected to be completed within the next couple of weeks) will include the operations of the Waterous 2000GPM pump which is powered by a Cummins QSL-9 diesel marine engine. This phase will allow us to check the capacity of the pump and appropriate gallons per minute at a set PSI. Once this is complete, we are down the home stretch! The only thing left to be accomplished is the lettering and finish flooring for the cabin.

When we take final delivery of the New Boat 4, the real work for the department begins. The committee will be busy putting in the finishing touches of installing equipment. Once that is completed, there will be a tremendous amount of training for the members that will need to be completed in order to operate the boat proficiently. This includes knowing the capabilities of the vessel, navigating the waterway using some of the latest technology in electronics Garmin has to offer. Learn the operation of the fire pump and its controls, operating the Yamaha Helm system, and the list goes on. By the way, if this is something you think you would be interested in, you're just an application away! We are always looking for skilled and/or new boat operators that would like to be trained, as well as interested firefighters.

We are anticipating delivery around the 13th of May 2023 timeframe. Currently the vessel’s expected home port will be in Smith’s Creek in Ridge, Maryland.

We would like to thank the following boat committee members for their hard work and dedication towards building this great fire/rescue vessel that will serve the 1st District for many years to come:

Committee Chairman – John “Peanut” Gatton
Committee Member - John Keister
Committee Member - Francis Raley
Committee Member - Ron Hafner
Committee Member - Steve Gatton
Committee Member - Chris Bender
Committee Member - Tony Ridgell


George Franklin May 01, 2023 at 9:09 PM
Many thanks to the committee for their perseverance, jn seeing the job through in
very trying times.