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FIREBOATS
Photos by Britton W Crosby

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Philadelphia, PA


Original Feature Posted April 26, 2004 - Re-launched January 28, 2012
Updated October 24, 2020

Philadelphia Fire Boats 1 - Overview  
Phily Fire Boats 2 - Old Boats   Phily Fire Boat 3 - New Boats
 

PHILADELPHIA - FIRE BOATS 1 - OVERVIEW

Philadelphia Fire Boats
The City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is one of America's most historic cities.
The City of Brotherly Love is where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution
were penned. It served as the new nation's capital in the early years.
Some of the Founding Fathers, including "Benjamin Franklin" called it home.

The Philadelphia Fire Department protects this historic city, located across the
Delaware River from New Jersey. The highly industrial waterfront port has been
protected by a fleet of fireboats since the late 1800s.

Some of the historic fireboats of the Philadelphia FD are included here
as well as the newest of the boats.

 

Map of Philadelphia, PA
Marine Unit 1 is located on Delaware River between 76 & 676.
Marine Unit 2 is located on the Schuylkill River on the southwest side of the city.
Camden, NJ boat are located across the Delaware River

 

FIREBOAT HISTORY


 

PHILADELPHIA MARINE UNITS
For many years, this pier located under the shadow of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge
on the Delaware River, at North Christopher Columbus Blvd and Race Street, sometimes
called Pier 11, was home to the Philadelphia Fireboats.
These photos taken in May 1987 show some of the old boats at dock.

Philadelphia had several old fireboats, dating back into the late 1800s.
Some early police boats were equipped with fire pumps.

PHILY FIREBOATS
1893 - "Edwin S. Stuart" was the first Philadelphia Fireboat 1.
It was 105' long and pumped up to 4500 gpm.
Served 1893 until retired in 1948

1921 - "Rudolph Blandenburg" Fireboat 2
130' length x 28' beam x 13' draft - 10,000 gpm
Served 1921 until 1950

1921 - "J. Hampton Moore" Fireboat 3
130' length x 28' beam x 13' draft - 10,000 gpm
Served 1921 to 1950

 The fleet was upgraded with 3 new boats between 1948 and 1950

1948 - "Bernard Samuel" Fireboat 1
Built in 1948 by RTC Shipbuilding in Camden, NJ
75' LOA x 18' beam x 4' bow draft and 7-1/2' stern draft
94 tons - could do 17 mph.
Pump 6,000 gpm - 24' elevating tower
Served 1948 until 1983 in reserve and disposed of in 2008

1950 - "Franklin" Fireboat 2 / Marine Unit 2
Built by RTC Shipbuilding in Camden, NJ
80' LOA x 19' beam and 7-1/2' draft
6,000 gpm - 24' elevating tower
Served 1950 until present day

1950 - "Delaware" Fireboat 3
Built by RTC Shipbuilding in Camden, NJ
80' LOA x 19' beam and 7-1/2' draft
6,000 gpm - 24' elevating tower
Served 1950 until present day

NEW BOATS

2007 - "Independence" Marine Unit 1
Built by Derecktor Shipbuilding, Bridgeport, CT
66' LO x 20' beam x 2'8" draft
Jet drive - 32 mph
5,500 gpm pump

 2019 - "Liberty" Marine Unit 4
Built by Viking Welding, Kensington, NH
FR-36-LC - 36' LandingCraft style
(3) 300 hp Evinrude outboards
1500 gpm
Assigned with Marine 2

2020 - "Edward A Waters" Marine Unit 3
Built by Viking Welding, Kensington, NH
FR-36-LC - 36' LandingCraft style
(3) 300 hp Evinrude outboards
1500 gpm
Assigned with Marine 1

 



Philadelphia Fireboats "Delaware" and "Bernard Samuel" at quarters.
May 1987

 



Philadelphia Fireboat 1
"Bernard Samuel"
Built 1948
75'10" length
6,000 gpm capacity

Photos May 1987

 

Philadelphia Fireboat 2
"Franklin"
Built 1950
80' length
6,000 gpm capacity

Photos May 1987

 



Philadelphia Fireboat 3
"Delaware"
Built 1950
80' length
6,000 gpm capacity

 

 

CURRENT FIREBOATS

PHILADELPHIA MARINE UNIT 1
The current home of the Philadelphia Marine 1 Fireboats is at the USCG facility located
at One Washington Ave and South Christopher Columbus Blvd on the Delaware River. 

 

Philadelphia - Marine Unit 1
"Independence"
2007 Derecktor 66' Fireboat
5,500 gpm - 200 gals AFFF
Aluminum hull with draft of only about 2.5 feet
Powered by (4) Detroit series 60 diesels capable of approx 35 knots
Jet drive propulsion
First new fireboat commissioned by Philadelphia Fire Department in 57 years.
(photos B Crosby July 2009)

 

Philadelphia Marine Unit 2
"Franklin"

Built 1950 by RTC Shipbuildiers, Camden, NJ
79'4" length,
6,000 gpm

Philadelphia Marine Unit 2
Schuylkill River At Passyunk Avenue
(South West Philadelphia)



Philadelphia - Marine Unit 3
"Edward A. Waters"
2020 Viking Welding FR-36-LC
36' Landing Craft style Fireboat
Powered by (3) Evinrude 300 hp outboards
Darley 1500 gpm pump
 

(PHOTOS Thanks to Philadelphia Lt Christopher Wynne Oct 2020)


 


Philadelphia - Marine Unit 4
"Liberty"
2019 Viking Welding FR-36-LC
36' Landing Craft style Fireboat
Powered by (3) Evinrude 300 hp outboards
Darley 1500 gpm pump

(PHOTOS Thanks to Philadelphia Lt Christopher Wynne Oct 2020)


 



 

 

 

 

Philadelphia, PA

Philadelphia Fire Boats 1 - Overview  
Phily Fire Boats 2 - Old Boats   Phily Fire Boat 3 - New Boats

 

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Britt Crosby
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