County funds new rescue boat for Poughkeepsie

Poughkeepsie FD Marine 2 was used to rescue between 15 and 18 high schoolers from the Hudson River on Tuesday.

POUGHKEEPSIE – The City of Poughkeepsie Fire Department has taken delivery of its new rigid-hull inflatable rescue boat purchased under a Dutchess County grant.  The new vessel, “Marine 2,” replaces the department’s 1985 Boston Whaler, stored at the Clover Street station.

PFD Firefighters on the retiring Marine-2 earlier this year. (c) Mid-Hudson News 2022

The boat, trailer, and ancillary equipment were purchased from Defender Industries in Connecticut.  Poughkeepsie Fire Chief Joe Franco, who spent months overseeing the specifications of the new boat, traveled to Connecticut on Thursday with Firefighter Jon Baisley to bring the asset to its new home in Poughkeepsie.

The 14-foot-long craft, powered by a 40 horsepower Honda engine is capable of being deployed by trailer in minutes, with two firefighters to perform rescue operations on the Hudson River and other waters where it is needed.

The vessel, according to Chief Franco, cost approximately $21,000 outfitted with all of the necessary gear, and was paid for with funds received under the Dutchess County Municipal Investment Grant (MIG).  The Poughkeepsie Fire Department received $40,600 through Dutchess County’s Municipal Investment Grant (MIG) program earlier this year.  Approximately $21,000 was spent on the new boat, trailer, and equipment.  The remaining funds are earmarked to purchase an off-road vehicle and equipment to respond to calls on the department’s section of the Dutchess County Rail Trail as well as the Urban Rail Trail being constructed in the city.  Franco noted that the MIG funding was instrumental in making the equipment upgrade possible.  “The MIG money avoided the need to further burden the city’s finances in the current economy.”

The chief said the new boat “will improve our ability to respond quickly to water emergencies and help those in need,” Chief Franco said.  ”

Following firefighter training on the new vessel, it will be pressed into service and available to answer calls, the chief said.

The fire department’s Marine-1 vessel, a larger jet-drive vessel, is docked at the Shadows Marina during the spring, summer, and early fall months.  Marine-2 will remain on its trailer at the Clover Street fire station and is typically launched from the Waryas Park boat launch, in the same manner as the soon-to-be-retired 1985 Marine-2.

In addition to the two boats operated by the fire department, the police department also has a patrol boat, designated as “Marine-3.”  Originally, a misunderstanding resulted in the police craft being designated “Marine-2” until the new fire rescue boat arrived and the designations were adjusted. The police department purchased the boat through an agreement with the state in 2021.


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