Marine/Shipboard Firefighting and Rescue
The Virginia Beach Fire Department provides emergency response and mitigation to incidents that occur in water-related/marine-type environments. Marine Team duties include search, rescue and recovery operations; attack and extinguishment of fires within ships/boats; and provide assistance to citizens and/or vessels in distress.
Responses include swimmers in distress, boats and boaters in distress, medical emergencies on boats and ships, shipboard/boat fires not accessible from the shore or a pier, and shipboard/vessel fires accessible from the shore or a pier.
All 52 members of the VBFD Marine Team are certified in the Virginia Safe Boat Operators course, Virginia Department of Fire Programs Shipboard Firefighting, USCG SAR course and department provided marine training and competencies. Boat operators receive training related to the specific vessels that will be operating. Marine Team members are assigned to Company 1 (First Landing), Company 6 (Creeds) and Company 12 (Seatack).
Members of the Marine Team assigned to Company 1 are also members of the Marine Incident Response Team (MIRT). This regional team is a made-up of the area fire departments, with mutual aid to the Virginia Port Authority, through the Hampton Roads Marine Fire Fighting Contingency Plan. The MIRT responds at request of the Captain of the Port, and will provide any aid or services requested. These services may include fires, hazardous material releases, medical emergencies, and search and rescue.
Fireboat 1 is 30' Argus Class Northwind with an enclosed cabin capable of pumping 1500 gpms. Fireboat 1 is kept on the water at the City Marina located in the Lynnhaven Inlet. Fireboat 1’s main response area includes the Lynnhaven Inlet, Chesapeake Bay and Cape Henry Atlantic Ocean waterway.
Fireboat 6 is a 24 foot Metal Shark aluminum response vessel with a 500 gpm fire pump. Fireboat 6 is located at Fire Station 6 (Creeds). Fireboat 6’s main response areas include the Intra-coastal waterway and the Back Bay/ Currituck Sound waterways.
Fireboat 12 is a former USCG 41’ Utility Boat (UTB). The 41’ UTB is designed to operate under moderate weather and sea conditions where its speed and maneuverability make it an ideal platform. Fireboat 12 is kept on the water at the City Dredge Ops marina located by Owls Creek. Fireboat 12’s primary response area includes Rudee Inlet and the Oceanfront from Cape Henry to the North Carolina line.
All Virginia Beach Fire Department Firefighters that pass the basic swim test are eligible.