POUGHKEEPSIE – The City of Poughkeepsie Fire Department received a new rigid-hull inflatable rescue boat purchased with a Dutchess County grant. The new ship, Marine 2, will replace the agency’s 1985 Boston Whaler, which was stored at Clover Street Station.
Boats, trailers, and ancillary equipment were purchased from Defender Industries of Connecticut. Poughkeepsie Fire Chief Joe Franco, who spent months overseeing the specifications of the new boat, traveled to Connecticut on Thursday with firefighter John Basley to transport his property to his new home in Poughkeepsie.
Powered by a 40-horsepower Honda engine, the 14-foot-long vessel can be deployed on a trailer in minutes, allowing two firefighters to conduct rescue operations in the Hudson River and other bodies of water in need.
Chief Franco said the ship, fully equipped, cost about $21,000, paid for with funds received under the Dutchess County Municipal Investment Grant (MIG). The Poughkeepsie Fire Department said he received $40,600 through Dutchess County’s Municipal Investment Grant (MIG) program earlier this year. About $21,000 was spent on new boats, trailers and equipment. The remaining funds will be used to purchase off-road vehicles and equipment to service requests for the Dutchess County Rail Trail and Urban Rail Trail departmental sections being built in the city. Franco said the MIG funding helped enable the equipment upgrade. “MIG funding eliminates the need to further strain city finances in the current economy,” he said.
The chief said the new boats “will improve our ability to respond quickly to water emergencies and help those in need.”
Following firefighter training on the new ship, it will be commissioned and ready to answer calls, the chief said.
The Fire Department’s Marine-1 vessels are larger, jet-powered vessels that dock at Shadows Marina for several months in the spring, summer and early fall. The Marine 2 is left in a trailer at the Clover Street Fire Station and is normally launched from the Wallias Park boat launch site.
In addition to the two boats operated by the Fire Department, the Police Department also has a patrol vessel called “Marine 3.” Initially, a misunderstanding arose that the police vessel was designated “Marine-2” until new fire and rescue boats arrived and the designation was adjusted. The police department purchased the boat through an agreement with the state in 2021.