Miami-Dade has selected the Metal Shark “50 Defiant X” fire boat, a welded aluminum monohull vessel featuring a proven hull form and a specialized arrangement optimized for firefighting. The new fire boats are being built at Metal Shark’s Jeanerette, Louisiana production facility and are intended to replace older fire boats currently operated by the Department.
The 50’ x 15’ vessels will be powered by twin inboard diesel engines mated to water jet propulsion units, with exact specifications to be announced. Projected top speed is in excess of 45 knots, for the fastest possible emergency-response time. At a more economical cruise 30-knot cruise speed, the vessels are expected to deliver a nominal operating range of approximately 250 nautical miles.
The distinctive new vessels were designed by Metal Shark’s in-house engineering team and boast modern, crew-friendly features for improved safety and efficiency. Mission-enhancing features include Metal Shark’s signature “Pillarless Glass” pilothouse arrangement, which offers dramatically improved from the wheelhouse compared to the smaller, framed windows used on the outgoing vessels.
The 50 Defiant X fire boat features a reverse-raked windshield arrangement with large overhead skylights that provide upward visibility while approaching and operating alongside moving ships or elevated structures, or while keeping overhead aircraft in view. A full complement of modern fire fighting equipment will allow crews to safely and efficiently conduct the full spectrum of marine fire rescue response missions.
“We were impressed at every turn with the diligence and the professionalism of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue’s leadership, and especially their unwavering commitment to the safety of their firefighters,” said Metal Shark CEO Chris Allard. “The Department conducted in-depth research followed by a lengthy procurement process to acquire the most modern, efficient, and proven fire boat on the market, and our 50 Defiant checked all the boxes.”
With the acquisition, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, one of the largest fire departments in Florida, will join a growing list of Metal Shark fire boat operators.
“While Metal Shark builds over 200 boats per year and we are perhaps best known for the large fleets of military vessels we design and build, we continue to expand our presence in the fire boat market,” said Dean Jones, Metal Shark’s Vice President of Sales for Fire, Law Enforcement, and Specialty Markets. “In the past eighteen months, Metal Shark has added nearly ten new fire rescue customers.”
“Metal Shark is looking forward to delivering these new, state-of-the-art, American-made fire boats, which will afford the operator the very latest advancements in fire boat design and technology,” said Mr. Allard. “With these new vessels, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue crews will be able to respond faster and do their jobs more safely. This is a real win not only for the firefighters, but especially for the people of South Florida.”