By Sheri Duff
The Marine Division of the Shelburne Fire Department is hard at work on its latest project–the Shelburne Marine 1. Shelburne Marine 1, a 23-foot Boston Whaler originally built for the U.S. Navy and purchased from a private individual in California in the fall, is not in service yet. But thanks to a group of dedicated fire department volunteers and donations from a supportive Shelburne community, the repair and renovation of the 1990 vessel is underway.
Primary volunteers include a six-member Marine Division including 2nd Assistant Chief Jim Buell, Firefighter II Jeff Bryant, Probationary Firefighter Josiah Wagener, Firefighter Dwight Mazur, Firefighter I Devin Major, and Captain John Goodrich; however, the entire department is in on the act. These committed volunteers hold down full time jobs, complete volunteer shifts at the fire department, and then lend their expertise and much of their available free time to overhaul the boat for emergency response this spring.
“We have taken apart, cleaned, fixed, and put this boat back together piece by piece,” offered Firefighter Mazur. “This fire-rescue boat has to be 100 percent all the time. During boating season our intent is for Marine 1 to be the first boat in and the last boat out of Lake Champlain.”
New this spring Shelburne Marine 1 will be docked at Shelburne Shipyard as opposed to the fire station which caused response delays of up to 20 minutes in emergencies. Easy access to the vessel will allow the fire department to provide rapid response for shoreline disasters in Shelburne Bay, Shelburne Pond, Lake Champlain, and neighboring waterfront communities to investigate distress calls and carry out other tasks assigned by the U.S. Coast Guard.
“We can’t thank the residents of Shelburne enough for their commitment to the fire department,” stated Mazur. “Because of the communities’ generosity we can put the larger, more capable boat in the water. But we still need equipment to keep firefighters safe while conducting fire suppression, shoreline search and rescue, and water operations with the new vessel.”
Donations are still necessary to purchase the specialized equipment to continue safely meeting the demands for assistance in the water and expanding emergency response capabilities for Shelburne. Priorities for the department will cost approximately $30,000 and include a fire pump, rescue swimmer safety equipment and training, and water rescue gear.
We are well-aware that not everyone in Shelburne has a boat or takes part in activities on the lake,” informed 2nd Assistant Chief Buell. “But residents can be proud that their fire department represents the town and puts forth its best effort in a person’s time of need. It is our hope that community members will reflect on and be thankful for the assistance they receive and that support of this much needed service began with individuals providing an initial donation to get the process started.”
Residents and community members are encouraged to send tax deductible donations to the Shelburne Firefighters’ Association, Attn: Boat Equipment Campaign, PO Box 911, Shelburne, Vt. 05482. For more information please visit www.shelburnefire.org or call 985-2366.